Second and Third Episodes in One
The famous universal Law of Attration reminds us that ‘like attracts like’, and I think I’m starting to get what that means; not a head understanding, but a real life one. Let me explain:
In my previous post I wrote about my powerful experiences at the Women are Medicine retreat, where great gifts were deposited into me as I stepped out the way, allowing for Soul and Spirit to express through me.
A lot more happened internally for me at the retreat, and much as wanted to, I just didn’t have the necessary inner space to dedicate towards any form of conscious integration of it all when I got back home from my time away. I was in a muted daze all day most days.
I think the reason I hadn’t been allowed any time to digest the retreat was that there was one or two more shifting experiences I had to go through.
I had been invited to join an Expressive Arts Therapies one day workshop on the Saturday following the WaM retreat. My friend Eleen was hosting it, and had very generously offered me free space on the workshop. This was a second interaction I’d been invited to participate in, fully sponsored. When you’re called, and the route is cleared for your journey, well, how do you say no? I didn’t. I went to the workshop happily, scheduled on Diwali, a day dedicated to the celebration of the Hindu Festival of Light.
My introvert self gets very nervous in intimate gatherings with strangers, and this was no different. I had arrived late to the workshop due to some uncharacteristic traffic for a Saturday morning on the M3. Fortunately though I had arrived just in time to have to wait a few more minutes for other late comers to arrive.
I walked in to the sunny, shiny wooden-floored hall, found an empty chair in the circle of maybe 12 or 17 women who were chatting with each other, and fiddled with my bag trying to decide where to leave it. Before deciding to drop it next to me, I took out a pen and my journal from it.
For no reason at all I picked the bag up from next to me, put it under my chair, changed my mind about this location, and nervously rummaged through it as if looking for something. Decoy. I took a second pen out of it, and relocated the bag to against the wall behind me.
Seeing this, a more sane part of me very gently sat me back down in my chair, and had me close my eye in meditation.
Fortunately though, Eleen joined the circle before long, and welcomed us to the session.
As part of the check-in, she asked each one to state our intention for being there, and took us through a basic meditation to ground us into the day. We then went around the circle, checking in and stating our intention.
“I am here to reignite a passion that’s long been lying dormant. I am here to reclaim myself”.
I watch these words leave my mouth, circle the room and land in everyone’s ears, including my own, noticing how everyone receives them with encouraging smiles directed at me, conspiratorial though, to my mind, as if they were privy to a me I wasn’t yet aware of. I had not planned on saying that, so where did it come from? My plan had been to say something non-commital, with zero higher intention except something like ‘I’m just here’. Frankly I didn’t think there’d be any more room in me for one more big experience after WaM.
But a deep calm had settled over me once these words had left my mouth, and I had watched myself drop into an inner stillness, a knowing that I’m here not only because I had said yes, but primarily because it had been decided. It had been long decided, and confirmed once I had said yes to being here.
Pay attention Makgathi, this is important.
The workshop itself is filled with play and dance, creativity and lightness. I had expected some heaviness, but soon realized that things don’t have to be heavy to be weighty. Pleasure can also be meaningful.
To continue with my story, I need give you some background information that will help you understand what had transpired during the day: when my Canadian friend Shirry was here a few months ago, I had noticed that she was ambidextrous. She had promptly corrected me though, telling me that she was in fact right-handed, but was in the process of teaching herself to write with her left hand. That had inspired me to do the same and reclaim my left hand, since one of the things my mother had told me before she died, was that I had been left handed as a child, but had been “trained” into right handedness by the school system.
It is easy of course to cast blame, of course, but in truth I myself had dedicated most of my life to going against myself. I have perfected the art of self-sabotage, self -betrayal, self-negation. So right now there’s no time for blame, only forgiveness and the reclamation of what was lost.
And so it is that I decide to use my left hand for most activities at this workshop. One particular exercise has us dialoging with an image we’d created. To facilitate the dialogue, my right hand picks up one of the pens and writes down questions, essentially emanating from my conscious mind. At the end of the questioning, my left hand picks the pen up and responds from the space of my unconscious, or Higher Self, if you will. I am totally unperturbed by this, as if it is common-place for one’s mind to be split up like this, and engage in a perfectly meaningful dialogue with itself.
This continues until a complete conversation has taken place, with the two different consciousnesses having interacted with each other within me. The conversion is comprehensive enough to elucidate some things which I hadn’t been able to comprehend before.
Here is a brief extract from the conversation. This one refers specifically to an image I had created which had unsettled me deeply:
Me, Right Hand: “You look quite scary to me. Who are you?”
Higher Self, Left Hand: “I am you. I am all your lifetimes come to transport you to your Real Reality. That’s all”.
Me, RH: “Who?! What?! All my lifetimes? What do you mean?”
HS, LH: “You have done a lot of work, and that has helped us come through you, to you, to help you come to yourself. You are often afraid. But fear not. All your fear is being burnt away” (the image that had unsettled me depicted a big black charcoal border around it, which I had interpreted as a firebreak, for no apparent reason). “That is why we had to create that firebreak- to burn away, in a controlled space, that which does not serve you any longer. And to protect you. You are safe. We love you and are here to help you. You are ready for your sacred transformation…”
At the end of the workshop we created Pantoums, a form of poetry with repeated verses:
A Path of Passion
i am all your lifetimes come to transport you to your Real Reality
opening and joining, mostly playful
soft and hard
opening and joining, playful.
i am here to initiate you into your Sacred Transformation
End of Episode 2
Episode 3 Blood Ties
I leave this workshop feeling inspired, as if the dragon above had ignited some fire in me. I get home to welcome friends to the Diwali party I’d organised, and gorge on an excuisite Indian potluck spread which my fabulous guests had contributed to. My palate is awakened and happy.
The peals of laughter of the many children attending the party explode through every corner of the house, and light, a lot of candle and fairie light creates magical images on walls, in trees, on people’s animated faces. Some are cuddling in furry blanketed conversation, whilst others are keeping warm around the wood burning brazier. There is also serious dancing happening in the lounge-come dance floor.
Sunday is a lazy day spent with Michael Franks and beloved friends who stayed over, and we devour left-overs and drink way too much vodka in the sun. The girls are chasing home-made kites in the wind along the lake. Hmmmmm…Love is here.
On Monday morning I defy one hell of a hangover, my craniosacral therapist as well as Plantar Fasciitis and go for a run, and love it so much I keep going for over an hour. I’m sick of being tired all the time, and know that this level of unfitness is just not on. I have to expend energy in order to expand energy.
When I get back from my run I sit at my desk and haul out my big file and books and continue my long neglected research on African Goddesses.
A few days later my soul companion friend Aja introduces me to the Goddess conference conveners in the UK, and secures us an invitation to present at next year’s conference. They’d like me to present something on the African Goddess…
Whilst I’m on a roll I go back to gym to have my muscles punished at Pilates, but get my revenge in the gansta ass shaking Groove Dance class. The instructor is so badass that she has us twerking to Rehane and hip hop! I am loving feeling my body ache in the middle of the night, and feel slightly smug as I rub my aching hot thighs down with Tiger Balm. Oh yeah, they’re gonna be hot soon! Just to help them along, I do random two hour long runs on the dry sand along Long Beach. I am alive, people! Life is flowing through me. Welcome back, prana. I am so sorry for having neglected you this long…
The Saturday following the arts therapy workshop has me driving to a milkwood forested retreat venue in Noordhoek for an Ancestral Healing session. Claire my psychic friend is running it, and like Eleen and the women at WaM, also tells me I that don’t have to pay to participate. Hmmm! I must find a way to give back.
I am ashamed to admit that I’m a little late to the gathering of about 8 women. I don’t know why I kept getting lost. But never mind, for Mphepho forgives me and welcomes me at the door, and immediately puts a smile on my face as I walk in. I apologise for my tardiness, and proceed to create a nest for myself in one corner. It’s cold, in spite of the fact that it’s the beginning of November, technically the second month of spring. But Cape Town couldn’t care less. I think that the season change email got deleted before it was even delivered, leaving cold fearing people like me seriously unhappy. Thank heavens for the comfort of thick socks and jerseys and woolen winter hats.
I’m not as nervous here. In fact when I see a little altar laid out on the floor, I get my own sacred items out my bag and arrange them there. I then get my snuff, and call my ancestors in an envocation which I say quietly, on my knees. When I finish I make myself a cup of green tea and return to my nest.
My intention for the session is to be open to receiving the gifts that my ancestors have for me, and to play my part in helping heal my lineage.
The half-day session is filled with shamanic drumming and meditation, and we spend some time on Shamanic Journeying, a process of Travelling within. The first journey is to meet one’s totem or power animal. The Native American belief is that we all have a totem animal that can be likened to a guardian angel. The animal is a spirit being, and acts as a guide or protector. Native Americans believe that this spirit guide stays with you for life, and is available to guide you through real life as well as through spiritual challenges.
My belief that we are all One, connected in every single way, points out to me that we too, in African belief system have family spirit animals which are revered and honored as important for the wellbeing of the family or tribe. We share this with many indigenous first peoples around the world.
Also, my grand nephew, at the age of 8, had had an experience which had him tell us “you know, Angels are everywhere. They help people all the time, but people don’t even realize it. D’you know that everyone has their own Angel”? I suppose the guardian Angels will appear in whatever form that makes sense to one.
Back at the session, having encountered and or met our individual spirit animal in the first shamanic journey, Claire takes us on a second one, where we are to have a meeting with our ancestors. She starts beating her drum as I make myself comfortable on my makeshift bed. My thick blanket covers my entire body, whilst my eyes are shielded under a thick scarf which I’m using as a blindfold. I shift and shift until I’m comfortable, let out a loud exhale, and beckon my spirit animal, which allows me to mount it, and away we go on our journey.
The spirit animal takes me to my mother, and her mother, and her mother, and so on and on. The fathers also step forward. I’m not always made aware of their stories, except perhaps that their task is to be there for me. They all follow me as I travel on the spirit animal, till we get to an old ancestor who welcomes me. He is an aged great many times grandfather, and his wife is there also. I’ve met him before in psychic readings. In his lifetime he was a king and respected healer. He tells me to not be afraid of hunger and deprivation; that my fear makes me hoard, which doesn’t make space for real abundance.
We find ourselves by a huge roaring fire, with all the ancestors that had joined along the way standing in a circle around it. I am stripped naked, and burnt in the fire. Every part of me is burnt away, until there’s not even a shadow of me left. Then I’m rebuilt, slowly, carefully, with the ancestors singing and clapping. I dance along their music in the fire, and the females come forward and wrap a red cloth around my waist, with a leopard skin covering my shoulders. I’m then placed back on the spirit animal, and am ushered back. At the gates, great times many times grandfather tells me: “wait, I have something for you”. He gives me fire, and tells me to never let it go out. “Keep it burning. This is your abundance. Your healing. Your medicine”.
As I get off the spirit animal, it too gives me a gift…
It’s all a lot to metabolise, I know, even for me.
After the session, when I get back to my physical home, I decide to have a fire ceremony on my balcony. I take pictures of the fire (I got this idea from Claire), and incredible creatures and beings emerge in the photographs. Since then I try to have a fire ceremony at least three times a month. The last one I performed was on the recent New Moon. Mama, and Mme, my grandmother, were both there. I’d dreamt of the both of them the night before.
The journey continues, and to say my inner life is changing in remarkable ways would be an understatement. Now I await for my outer reality to match the richness of my inner reality.