TRIBE de MAMA Honoring the Journey of All Women
VOLU ME 8 : : RE B I RTH
TRIBE de MAMA was created for all women. We are a global community, called to form a circle of shared wisdom. We are here to inspire each other through a culture that embraces nature, creativity, and connection. Our lives are defined by our relationships to each other and through our collective experience. We support empowerment through acceptance, self-love, and compassion. We gather with the intention of love and mindfulness as we build our TRIBE.
Mothers of the universe, Daughters of the earth, Sisters of the divine consciousness: We hold the light of our past. We are the women who create our future. We are all MAMA.
ART :: BRIANA SARGENT PHOTOGRAPHY :: GREER INEZ
We are back. Wearing a different dress, feeling with the same heart. In the past year we have built a global community of soul sisters. A place where women gather to connect, inspire, and empower one another. A virtual haven of wisdom for our sisterhood, where our feminine heart can find its reflection. Today we are taking everything a step further. TRIBE de MAMA is officially a magazine, which co-creates with over a hundred women from all over the world. Our pages are filled with raw honesty, stories from different stages of womanhood and wisdom from teachers and healers. Nourishment for the soul, the mind, and the eyes. This magazine has also given home to consciously curated art, created by the feminine heart. These pages are the walls of our virtual exhibition, celebrating creativity that is blossoming from the womb. Working with women on a global scale has always been my dream. Motherhood allowed me to embrace my gifts from the Divine. It has awakened the depths of my calling and connected me to the muses of this work. I am and will always be passionate about birth and all that encompasses it. The birth of my son was the rebirth of me and my entire world. Now I know that it is not only because of the profound spiritual experience it means to me in this lifetime as a woman, but also because of the transformation it has brought onto the path I am walking as a creator. I offer you now a piece of this journey. Please join me as we begin this brand new chapter of TRIBE de MAMA.
With Love, Dori xx
TRIBE de MAMA Creator
Co-Creator & Production Manager
TRIBE de MAMA
Co-Creator & Global Events
San Diego CA firstname.lastname@example.org
MAGAZINE www.tribedemama.com Chief Editrix
Editor Astrology Editor
Social :: Instagram, Facebook, Soundcloud
Natural Beauty & Wellness Editor
Goddess Birth Story Editor
Selen Caglayik Eloglu
Curator of Art
Curator of Art Assistant
Production Manager Assistant
OTHER MEMBERS OF OUR CIRCLE Fundraising Collective Co-Creators Ines Tucakovic Clark
Book Club Leader
Custom Offerings Collaborator & Shop Manager
Social Media Co-Creator
Bosom Nectar Support Circle Facilitator Newsletter Marketing
Kelly K. Mackura
TRIBE de MAMA is an independent publication released four times per year.
BEHIND THE COVER
All of the content contained in this publication is protected by copyright and published with permission from our contributors.
Motherhood is a blessing. Womanhood is a gift.
Please donâ€™t reproduce, redistrubte or republish any of the
Nurturer, teacher, healer, builder, and dreamer.
contained information without our written permission.
This is TRIBE de MAMA.
Tribe de Mama is a trademarked publication. All information contained within the magazine is correct at the time of print, and by submitting contributors agree they have fact checked information contained. No liability is taken by the publisher for inaccurate infomration supplied by contributors.
Photographed by Ashely Jennett. Models :: Rubayah Ali, Centehua Deneken, Jenny Ahn, Channing Moreland, and Mia De Luca.
Honoring the Feminine and Mother Earth
Embrace your feminine side on all your paths with these Sacred Ovaries Canvas Tote Bags.
VOLUME 8 :: REBIRTH
Editor in Chief
Vanessa lives in Southern California with her
Erin resides just outside of Hood River, Oregon,
husband, their three girls, ages 15, 10 & 8,
deep in the tall trees with her 2 year old son
and their 5 year old son. When she is not on
and hubs, and has been with TRIBE de MAMA
adventures with her family, you can find her
since its inception.
reading, writing, listening to music, or creating;
dressing in costumes, creating performances,
usually all at once. She is a lifelong learner and
writing words, playing with plants, concocting
on a journey this year to become a Reiki Master.
home remedies, and being in the ocean surfing
For the past year she has been working on
waves. Her current roles are that of a mother, a
her small business, Revel V, where she creates
homesteader, and a maker while expanding out
dreamcatchers that incorporate color therapy to
into the world of entrepreneurship through craft
help guide the intentions and energies that you
and collaboration. She runs a business creating
desire to bring to your space. She is very grateful
one-of-a-kind stitched hats which is evolving to
for the opportunity to work with the writers of
include womenâ€™s handmade fair trade textiles
Tribe de Mama, and considers it an honor to help
and artists work from around the world on
women share their knowledge, stories and hearts
some of their designs. Erin has a deep thirst for
with the sisterhood.
adventure and always has dreamt of and traveled
Her truest passions include
to faraway lands to make connections that she @revel_v
can weave into her story. @erinstafforderickson @blowfishdesigns
SISTERS OF OUR TEAM
Co-Creator and Production Manager
Curator of Art
Kristen resides in the mountains of San Diego
Alexa-Milena Piqué has been born again, for the
with her husband and 10-month-old daughter,
third time; at age 25. She lives under her own
Naya. She recently left her career in publishing in
influence, and wandered into the Wild while
Los Angeles to be a full-time mom and is using
living in California. Currently at a rest-stop in her
this transformational time to explore dormant
hometown of Montreal, Canada, she is preparing
passions and build deeper connections among
for her next move; her next exhale. She feels
women. Kristen’s favorite thing is traveling to
enlivened at the thought of co-caring for her
new and far places, but for the time being with
own. She is on a constant wave of creativity;
a little one in tow, she is keeping her adventures
quenching her creative thirst with abstract oil
mostly local and often uses cooking and baking
painting and art direction, and she pursues
as her escapism and therapy. She is a huge fan
her will to heal by practicing Reiki and holding
of coffee, dark chocolate, full moons and wine
gatherings for her Sisters. She is home when she
and is currently obsessed with mamahood and
feels the density, the moisture and the warmth of
babies, for obvious reasons.
plant-life, and the titillating feeling of becoming engulfed by the ocean. Her journey is becoming
clear, but only because she has accepted that her purpose is to Love, spiked with a desire to bring you along. @alexapique
VOLUME 8 :: REBIRTH
012 048 074 094 100 128
self care narrative interviews and wisdom fiction shadow work astrology relationships photo journal
VOLUME 8 :: REBIRTH
Rebirthing Ritual Bath
Herbal Allies for Winter Wellness
Porridge of Opulence
Awa kening Your Shadow Through Buton Dance
The Yoga Of My Unraveling
Paige Berling-Mackenzie Defying Gravity Sophie Ward
WORDS :: DEBORAH HANEKAMP ART :: HANNAH SHARP
REBIRTHING RITUAL BATH
hen we trust the cycle of arising, abiding and fading away, the concept of death is no longer finite. Transition and change are truths we can rely on.
As young and beautiful as the body may be now, one day it is bound to wither and transform back to the earth to physically be reborn as something or someone new. Rebirth isn’t only the process of our sprit transitioning from one body to another. Rebirth can happen again and again in any given lifetime. When we move, change jobs, break up, fall in love, create a project, create a baby or experience any major life change that is a rebirth! We can feel an overwhelming amount of energy returning to us (usually after the pain of letting go) during the Rebirth process. Here is a ritual to be your own healer and ease the growing pains that come with transition as you bless yourself on your new path. INGREDIENTS 1 cup Epsom Salt 1 tablespoon or more Honey or Vegan Honey Black Moonstone, Malachite and Amethyst Crystals 3 drops each of the Essential Oils: Lemon Balm, Jasmine, & Frankincense Tub Tea of Linden, Violet and Rose
To make tub tea put a teaspoon of each herb into a tea satchel, bring a pot of
water to an almost boil, turn off heat, add satchel to water and let sit overnight. Add salt, crystals, essential oils and tub tea to as hot as you can stand bath water RITUAL • Light a candle • Cover face, body, and (optional) hair in honey • Burn Sweet Grass all around you, including the soles of your feet • Step into the tub and dunk your head under water • Place the black moonstone on your belly button • Hold the Malachite in your left hand and the Amethyst in your right • Chant, Om Mani Padme Hum, a minimum of 3 times • Close your eyes and take several deep Ujjayi breaths. Try to inhale to a count of 4 and exhale to a count of 8. (Breathe in and out through nose, whispering HA with the mouth closed on the ex-hale) • Soak and revel in the refreshed energy you have created
WORDS :: BRI TEJEDA ART :: BEATA KRUSZYNSKI
or the last 10 years I’ve found myself immersed in what I can only describe as a “Beauty Culture” - one that isn’t necessarily about perfectionism or ideals from a
media standpoint, but more about refinement, self-love and health. It started when I was 17, living in Santa Cruz with my older sister, who worked at a little place called the “Perfumers Apprentice”. Money was tight so we would spend our time in that little attic shop, learning all about the benefits of the plants and oils that were bottled up for various uses. The owner of the shop would travel the world curating her store with straight from the source oils, and every week there would be groups of women and men who would come in and acquire them for this and that. I remember one day in particular coming across a book called “Kitchen Witchery” which the owner carried in her shop. It was a detailed, insightful book of powerful and healing herbal remedies, as well as various other useful things - all based around plants, things found in your kitchen, and essential oils. I had this moment where I realized that this variation of magic is cycled around self-care and Mother Nature, and I felt an instant and undeniable connection. I have always been what I’m sure would be described as “feminine”, meaning that I present myself in a way that I feel good about - and that includes hair, makeup, and the whole nine yards. I was raised to correlate the idea that the way you present yourself is an extension of who you are, so being put together was always a second nature to me. What I didn’t realize is that for each thing I was using as part of my regular routine, there was a naturally made or health conscious alternative. Since finding out about the beauty in kitchen witchery, the power in self-care and the resources found in nature, this journey has proven itself to be empowering and important. I have found my calling
VOLUME 8 :: REBIRTH
of honoring beauty from the inside out, through a blog and lifestyle line I founded called Indi Moonrose, named after my three daughters. I have also found a deep respect and admiration for the women who have created impactful spaces and products before me, because ultimately I have been inspired by their ability to honor that truth in themselves. Whatever the company’s focus is, from cruelty free to supplemental, there are things that set each one apart as individuals in what can be a very confusing and cluttered market. So before you eat, absorb or spray things on your precious temple, let’s talk about a few reasons why nature made is the absolute best. What we put onto our bodies, we also put into our bodies. You know that saying “You are what you eat.” - well that DEFINITELY applies to skin and beauty products, except you are what you put on. Your skin is your body’s largest organ, and while this may not be news to you, it’s definitely something to care about. From sun screen to make up, you’re essentially absorbing all those ingredients that are questionable and often times unpronounceable. I like to consider the European Ingredient ban whenever I find something I love but seems like Mother Nature didn’t make it - as a safety measure. FACT: Did you know that while the US has 10 cosmetic ingredients banned, Europe has 1,372. Cost Effective While buying cosmetics and supplements that are of quality shouldn’t be cheap, they also shouldn’t cost a million dollars. A minimalist approach is sometimes the best in the world of nature made. The idea that a carefully thought out and well informed apothecary product, or tried and true herbal remedy, can cut costs in ways that you wouldn’t expect. One of those ways is correcting and healing the problem with intentionally purchased products. From infused oil blends to super food, we can heal our bodies with the power of nature. While the products themselves may seem expensive at first glance, the truth is that once you have healed your body of its ailments, you are actually cutting costs on the ways you tried to remedy or hide the problem to begin with. For me personally, this was my addiction to corrective concealer. I had 20 different types of concealer to counteract what I believed to be genetically puffy eyes and dark circles. I found that using a nature made product, in this case my Moonrise Creek Under Eye Elixir, actually helped remedy the problem area - allowing me much more freedom in my morning make up routine, thus saving money and time comparatively. When you read the ingredients it makes sense that this would do the trick instead of caking all the makeup in the world to hide the initial problem. With this particular elixir I am referencing the key ingredients that stuck out to me, and proved to be effective which were rose hip
seed oil, Eye Bright herb, and Mullein - it’s no wonder my organic body responded to its natural remedies. Aromatherapy I recently read a piece on Fat and the Moon’s scent product page mentioning the difference between perfume and scent: “Let’s discuss the difference between a ‘scent’ and a ‘perfume’. A scent is like what animals pick up from each other, it’s earthy, it’s innate like the handwriting and laugh you were born with. ‘Perfume’ is what the lady next to you on the plane is wearing that make your peanuts taste like air freshener. Scents made from plants- their essential oils to be exact- is from their very being, and is in some way, alive. You can think of these little scented balms as scent collaborators- dancing away with your scent! Plant, meet animal- animal, meet plant!” It read like poetry to me, brash, honest, “THANK-YOU-RACHEL-OF-FAT-AND-THEMOON” all caps kinda poetry. Like halle-fucking-lujah. Because even when you don’t realize you’re killing vibes with your ultra-strong smelling hair, body and cosmetic products - even the ones you have loved since junior high - the truth is you kinda are. I can’t handle the smell of perfume, eau de “pink sugar” makes me want to die in particular (I swear I’m not dramatic) - but I also feel like smelling good is kind of the greatest gift. On top of the obvious smells we are attracted to, in which there are many natural alternatives to choose from, one of my favorite things about nature made cosmetic, body and hair products in particular is the fact that I have scent memory with them. Have you ever smelt jasmine on a summer night, or lavender for that matter? Like that time you took a walk because the air was right, it was warm and the stars were coming out after a beautiful sunset and all of the sudden you find yourself surrounded with the sweet and familiar smell of the plants and flowers nearby and it just sets the mood. That experience is what I call a “holy moment” because it is magic, and is part of what makes living in this world so wonderful. Now imagine that scent memory when you’re not walking on a star filled night in the warm summer breeze, imagine that you get the same memory every time you wash your face, or moisturize your body, or fix your hair, or even when you eat your food (I could go on and on). It becomes part of the process, part of the memory, part of the self-care - and I HIGHLY encourage it, because this reason alone is enough for me to always choose thoughtfully made items first. Traditional Medicine Long before it was “cool” people were using the nature around them to help treat,
VOLUME 8 :: REBIRTH
heal, beautify, and nourish their bodies. The plant’s lifeline is far more innate to our relationship with our humanity than any other resource we have. It is as old to our story as stardust is to our essence. We have lived with its powers and honored its importance for as long as time has gone on. In that same way, it has been tried and tried again, and like sticking to our roots, or learning from more indigenous roots from the land we reside, there is a beauty in honoring what is in all reality, traditional medicine. From oiling the body, to wrapping, to crushing blends of natural elements to enhance our beauty - there are positive aspects both holistically and physically to the regular practice of self-love and beauty regimens that come with them. These are things you can research and learn about on your own, or invest in companies that truly understand the knowledge and gift they are sharing by honoring the same values as the ones before them - as well as the plants and natural resources involved. Either way, it’s pretty cool to know that what you are doing by honoring your body is also like honoring the innate nature you were born to, and can even act as a healthy disconnect and mindfulness exercise. As we continue on this discussion and series in the future, which will include references and guides to natural lifestyle in a beauty culture, I encourage you to do your own research and to take time to not only buy from those makers and companies that genuinely care about what they are providing, but maybe even going a step further saying a simple “thank you” for their shared truth, knowledge, and love that goes into the path they have chosen. I also encourage you to try and create a routine of self-care, and shine in the light and love of what it is to create beauty from the inside out.
WORDS :: LOREN CARLILE ART :: AFKE WARMERDAM
HERBAL ALLIES FOR WINTER WELLNESS
s the last leaf gently dances toward the ground, we welcome the season of darkness and cold. Known to some Native Americans as “hungry months”,
winter is the valley to summer’s peak. There is still abundance, but it lies in the shadows instead of the sunlight. We discover it by turning our energy inward like the rich root vegetables growing slowly in the fields. When we tend to this growth occurring beneath the surface, sweetness and nourishment is ours to harvest. Winter is the epitome of Yin. It is a time of resting and receiving, of darkness and slowness, and of energy turned inward - be you a person or a plant. As the external world falls more into the cold shadows of life, we must support ourselves by offering warmth, rich nourishment, and sacred self-love to all layers of ourselves. We do this with rest (hibernation), warming & immune system supporting herbs, and rituals that nurture our inner selves. Our bodies require great care during this time, as does the part of us that literally lies beneath the surface. However, we must also honor and care for the spaces within that we do not readily shine light on - our shadow selves, our divine darkness. Plant allies support us, guide us, and nourish us as we move gracefully into these spaces, tending to the gardens of the deepest parts of our souls. ROSEHIPS :: Although the soft summertime petals have faded, Rose has yet another gift to offer us. Rosehips, the fruit that follows the flower, ripen after the first frost, providing a fresh source of vitamin c, vitamin a, and antioxidants. Drink as a tea, eat fresh, or use powdered. SAGE :: In the garden, Sage often is able to live through the winter, offering her goodness to us when some need it most. Imbibed as a tea, gargled, or inhaled as a steam, Sage provides relief from sore throats and supports the respiratory system. It is anti -bacterial, -viral, -inflammatory, and -septic, protecting us no matter what we come into contact with. Sage is also known for inner wisdom and activating intuition, and can be used as a flower essence or burned as a sacred smudge to activate her energetic properties. Meditating with sage allows us to receive her grandmotherly wisdom, while burning sage is cleansing to the energy of a space or person.
VOLUME 8 :: REBIRTH
MUGWORT :: A woman’s herb; Mugwort offers us deep, healing, and prophetic dream work. Our dreams are the gateway to our subconscious selves, parts of us well hidden by the constructs of the ego. Interacting with mugwort before bed will impart wisdom and intuition as you move through your dreamscapes, assisting in your exploration of your inner self. Can be used as a tea, tincture, infused oil, sacred smudge, or simply placed beneath your pillow. Mugwort is very powerful and does not always offer a deep, healing sleep - you’ll likely experience a lively, prophetic dreamscape to explore. GINGER :: A warming and anti-inflammatory blessing to our bodies, ginger is an irreplaceable ally. It simultaneously supports the immune system, relieves digestive distress, soothes a sore throat, and warms you up, effectively earning a spot in your daily wellness routine. Drink ginger tea all day long, but especially before meals, and add it to as many healing recipes as you can! ELDERBERRY :: Elderberries begin to ripen in autumn, but can be found throughout Winter depending on your climate. These tiny berries don’t taste like much, but offer potent medicine. High in antioxidants and immune-support, they will serve us in the fight of any dis-ease we may face during this season. Winter Wellness Elixir :: -
1 cup dried elderberries, rosehips, and sumac berries
1.5 inch chunk of fresh ginger, chopped/grated finely
4 dried cloves
2 cinnamon sticks
2.5 cups filtered water
½ cup local, ethically & sustainably sourced unfiltered raw honey
Optional: ¼ cup organic alcohol to preserve
Place all herbs into a pot with water. Bring to a boil and then decrease heat to a simmer - the lower the temperature, the better. Let simmer until liquid is reduced to about half, or 1 ¼ cups. Remove from heat, let cool to at least 180 degrees before adding honey to preserve the living, medicinal properties of the raw honey. Add honey (and alcohol, if including). With alcohol, this will last up to a year in the fridge. Without it, this will last up to four months in the fridge. Always use your best judgment and intuition and mark the bottle with the date created and the expected expiration. *It is important to source 100% organic ingredients (save for the honey, where local & raw is ideal). Because this Winter Wellness Elixir is meant to be medicinal, it would be counter-productive to include ingredients containing immunosuppressant’s such as chemical pesticides.
WORDS :: KRISTIN KLIER PHOTOGRAPHY :: ALEXA-MILENA PIQUÉ
PORRIDGE OF OPULENCE
n the time of Rebirth, the medicine of
the Earth we take in calls to us through
2 cups dried red lentils (rinsed and
a warming, grounding song. A porridge
of opulence - rejuvenates, nourishes and
5 cups spring water
roots us into our hearts so that we may
1 large sweet potato or yam (purple,
live from this place of love. Food is love
white or orange - chopped into bite size
and holds the wisdom to usher us into
our new selves, whole and renewed.
1 small red onion (diced) 2 cloves garlic (minced)
To eat is also to be in ceremony, as
2 cups broccoli or green beans or other
we commence body and food. This
seasonal veggie (chopped into large bite
porridge represents the time of our lives
where we come into anew and we must
1 tsp coriander
deeply nourish ourselves to be healthy
1 tsp turmeric
and reborn. I have created this for many
1 tsp curry powder
people, in many places both near and
2 pinches saffron threads
far, and it is a staple in my home. When
Dash of cayenne
I want to feel ready for life within all its
2 Tbsp. coconut butter (manna)
wonder and beauty, I make this dish. It is
2 Tbsp. ghee**
simple and special and richly satisfying.
2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil 1/2 c fresh cilantro (chopped)
As we enter a new year or birth in our
1 tsp sea salt (add more to taste if desired)
lives, whether itâ€™s our own rebirth of our
Black pepper to taste
soul, a birth of our children, or the new
Lemon wedges for garnish
coming of a chapter in our lives, this ceremonial dish will be one to create for
the medicine we desire. Rich in healthy
In a medium soup pot, add all ingredients
fats, this meal will replenish all that has
except coconut butter, sea salt and fresh
been lost in the process, rebuilding our
cilantro. Bring ingredients to a boil, cover
strength and stamina in a gentle way. A
pot with a lid and then let simmer for 15
tradition of my own creation, I pass this
minutes. Remove lid and add coconut
recipe along to you. May you be rich in
butter and sea salt. Stir well. Cover with
all that serves you.
lid and simmer an additional 5 minutes. Turn off heat and stir in cilantro. Scoop
Love, The Mystic Chef
portions into bowls and serve with a lemon wedge.
Red Lentil, Coconut, Saffron, Sweet
Potato Porridge *Use organic ingredients when possible
**For vegan version, omit ghee and add an additional 1 Tbsp. coconut butter and 1 Tbsp.
(Serves 4 +)
WORDS :: LOVEDAY WHY PHOTOGRAPHY :: KATE VAN DER
AWAKENING TO YOUR SHADOW THROUGH BUTOH DANCE "Within the strange intertwined worlds of butoh dance and poetry, the shadow self of the individual and of the collective was allowed, more than that - it was welcomed..."
itting in lotus on a cliff top in Northern
and burns with no protective film.
Spain, I sense her shouldering into
my consciousness. Gazing up at tree
Here in the land of stark shadow and
tops as the light falls on our camp spot
light, I came to know my shadow
in Scotland, I glimpse her swift shape.
self through a new kind of moving
In the garden of my childhood home,
meditation, one that has at its core a
in meditation, she puts a paw on my
deep communion with darkness and with
thigh. My darkness. My shadow self. My
femininity: butoh dance. Though seated
meditation continues to nourish me, moving meditation and the inward gaze
In 2012, I moved to Aotearoa, New
of poetry are the creative tools through
Zealand to be with my husband, to the
which I have most thoroughly come to
edge of an island looking out towards
understand and accept darkness.
the Antarctic. I have never known wind so cutting or sun so bright. To someone
Butoh arose in Japan in the post World War
who grew up close to the bustle,
II era in part as a response to Hiroshima
vibrancy and anonymity of London,
and Nagasaki â€“ the unbearable darkness
everything here seems in shadow â€“
of humanity. Such cataclysmic atrocities
wide open spaces, thick forests and
demanded the survivors on all sides to
caves, geographically removed from the
question who they were, how they could
centres of the Western world, so familiar
any longer call themselves human. Kazuo
to me - and yet everything is piercingly,
Ohno, who danced from 1949 to 2003,
uncompromisingly bright. There is a hole
is the father (and mother) of butoh. His
in the ozone layer just over the land of
shaping forces were his own battlefront
the long white cloud, so the sun burns
experiences of the Second World War
VOLUME 8 :: REBIRTH
and the deep imprint his mother left on
once the spell had fallen away and stare
him. Often performing in female clothing,
at each other as if we had just been
he believed that a mother sacrifices
born, or just survived a natural disaster,
part of her own life to nurture the child
or just fallen and fallen out of reality
in her womb. The link between mother
back into this fabricated world. It was a
and child, the gift of life, is one of the
trip, and then we would write about it.
complex and fundamental relationships
Within the strange intertwined worlds
he dances to: death and life, darkness
of butoh dance and poetry, the shadow
and light and the continual rebirthing of
self of the individual and of the collective
was allowed, more than that – it was welcomed, it was listened to and then it
My friend, and butoh partner, and I had
was integrated. The inward gaze of the
been used to classical dance. During our
creative processes of butoh dance and
sessions together we attempted to free
poetry turned outwards and was offered.
our bodies from learned ways of moving, to deconstruct our notions of what dance
After a while, though, butoh fell away.
is. We began by walking very slowly,
My partner moved out of the country. I
lifting the foot millimeter by millimeter,
started to lose touch with that method of
listening out for every muscle and bone’s
meeting the shadow. I returned to seated
shift. Then we would deconstruct our
meditation, but this time on more familiar
notion of what emotion is, what darkness
terms with shadows and with less fear. I
is and what light is, entering completely
no longer woke in the night screaming,
into the embodiment of a feeling or a
afraid of the shadow, nor did I equate its
concrete thing, in order to awaken to the
visitations with fear, unease and attack.
fallacy of duality.
But, in a subtler way, I distanced myself from it by simply ignoring it, pushing it
Because we are both poets, we would
far away or deep down.
dance to written prompts, fragments
of poetry. Sometimes we would speak
Then came a surprise pregnancy and
them to each other, sometimes they
birth. The bliss of pregnancy hurried
would be written on paper. I would
away all shadows. Like any nesting
always imagine myself swallowing the
mother, I scrubbed the walls clean. I
paper and letting the words work me
was consumed with light and love. Even
from the inside out. Sometimes – most of
when alarm bells rang, even though my
the time – we failed to quiet our rational
pregnancy was physically precarious,
minds, we failed to look with the eyes
the bright light within, my Sol baby, and
at the ends of our fingertips; we would
without, the New Zealand sun, burned up
find ourselves moving in a contrived or
the shadows and I had no time for them.
habitual way by accident. But sometimes
I was in a bedazzled haze of love. It was
we would go there and then further and
only later that I realized I had once again
we would peel open our conscious eyes
begun to fear and run from shadows.
During my pregnancy I had to fight for
and the continued daily rebirthing of
my daughter and protect her, holding
new motherhood is one not simply of
her within a circle of light. For this reason
turning to the light but of welcoming and
I found it very hard to let her go when
calling on the power of your shadows. If
she was ready and now believe that the
you have tools that you know awaken
length of my labor, (54 hours late stage
and nurture your shadow â€“ such as
at home followed by a hospital delivery)
dance, poetry, meditation - use them
though beautiful and I wouldnâ€™t change
even during the brightest times. Use
a thing, was not due to a suggested
them in your birth, as I did not! Love
physical abnormality, but was because
them during your postpartum period.
my body was afraid to release my
Yes, cherish and love them. Because your
little secret inside babe. It would not
shadow expands your capacity to love,
understand that it was now safe to bring
particularly, as Kazuo Ohno believed, as
Sol into the world, that the world was
a woman and in your relationship with
loving, shadows and all. Had I reflected
your child. Your shadow calls you to be
on my butoh practice and embodied in
courageous enough to look it in the eye
an empowered way some of the darkness
and embrace it, to make out the nature
I was afraid of, I may have had a different
of it and to walk with it amongst the
(or shorter!) birth story.
dappled light and beauty of the world.
I see now that the experience of birth
WORDS :: RISS CARLYON ART :: MELLE SKARFSTAD
THE YOGA OF MY UNRAVELING
“Yoga asks us to come to our mat and breathe, feel our bodies, observe our emotions and then contort our body into vulnerable shapes, build internal heat, stretch into our boundaries and play the edge of what is possible.”
dark night of the soul,” described my orange cloaked, top-knotted, Zen touting philosophy teacher. An ever deeper quest that only the bravest will take. Those
firmly ‘on the path’, whatever that means. Splashed about by yogis, the path suggests a certain spiritual bounty, likely accessed after the magic union of precisely practiced om’s, pronounced as A U M please, knowing thyself, upgrading to a pleasingly sattvic (that means holier than you) white wardrobe and hurried along by the methodical repetition of particularly archaic hard to pronounce chants. Did I just scoff internally? Damn it. Don’t suppose that counts as introspection? Ugh. I’m so off the path already. Young yogi me, smashingly smug in my delusion that yoga was for me a passion to be indulged, a stretchy set of feel-good shapes rather than any path to be trod. I dismissed this notion, frankly, for someone far less interesting, called my dog Karma and went about keeping my yoga what I considered “real world“. Yoga has a magical way about it. It is neither hurried nor immediately earth shattering. The practice unfolds, layer by layer within and around a yogi as they find their way time and time again onto their mat. So subtly, elusively at times, that it seems as if there is no momentum or progress, at least in the linear forwards direction that most of us Western yogis feel comfortable with. It may be neither visible nor tangible. Yoga asks us to come to our mat and breathe, feel our bodies, observe our emotions and then contort our body into vulnerable shapes, build internal heat, stretch into our boundaries and play the edge of what is possible. Then it asks us to bear witness
VOLUME 8 :: REBIRTH
to ourselves and our habitual reactions in the practice, to things like pressure, like inadequacy, to the unknown. It asks us to drop our ego, all the labels we use to define and describe who we are or are not. It whispers, ‘Hey lady, drop yourself for a moment, come hither and play here with me, something bigger than your small self, with love, with infinite wisdom’. It begs us to lose the need to compare, to judge others and to compassionately accept where we are. Right now. It calls us to an insatiable curiosity. Yoga invites us to know ourselves. Svādhyāya is one of the virtuous observances (Niyama) in the eight limbs of yoga that encourages introspection. It is loosely translated as self-study or knowledge of the self. Svadhyaya often begins in yoga as meeting your body, intimately revealing the parts that feel vital or weak, peeling back the parts that are vulnerable or dark, that hide or hold tension. Yogis learn where they are flexible and where they are strong and how to utilize both to create intelligent action. The yogi experiences a sense of their body as a warrior, focused and stable. For me, I got a sense of an inner feisty being, more powerful than I gave myself credit for and one that certainly wasn’t used to expressing itself freely in this world. Then adventure leads towards the goings on of the mind. What is the story we tell ourselves when no one is listening? We see how busy, unkind and repetitive our thoughts can be. Then elusively, perhaps through the thousands of Anjali mudras of sun salutations, we are reminded of the space at the heart. The pure essence and spirit that resides within each of us. Here truth sings out, “Hellooooo spunky yogi! Namaste. Here I am, welcome, I have been waiting for you”. Ultimately, truth bubbles forth to reveal itself over time and there comes that moment, or perhaps it’s a series of moments that beg you to bravery. Now that you know, you have sighted yourself, and in comes clarity as radiant as a diamond as sweet as a moonbeam. Sure, you could forget it for a while, smoosh it under a rock in its audacity or discomfort, not allow it to ignite you as you stay safe in the existence you already experience. Or you follow it. For me it was a blinding flash. Literally, I awoke from my sleep and sat up straight in bed. What I had been unpacking on the microcosm of my mat over years, had undeniably spoken: truth, dharma calling, requesting that it be transmuted from off the mat to the world. A request for my external world to meet the divine intelligence that had been manifesting in the internal. “Come courage,” I called, to the warrior qualities I had been practicing for so long, and began to make change. I moved cities, quit my career, ended a relationship, sold my home, went travelling and made teaching yoga my day job. Breathe. Follow. Trust. That won’t necessarily be your story of course, but I don’t doubt for a second that your unfurling of knowing will be any less magical.
THE YOGA OF MY UNRAVELING
There is no such thing as being good at yoga. There is just showing up in our curiosity and listening to what we find: you on your mat, me on mine and our shared wish to grow. Blessings to you as you unapologetically jump upon your path when it makes itself known. Ponderings for unfurling: Where in my body or my life am I holding tension or resistance? Do I have space for what is important to me? What are my gifts and light and how am I offering these up in service to the world? Is my life, work, home, relationship, use of time and my abundance an example of all that I believe and value? Do I have the courage to let love trump fear, over and over and over again?
WORDS :: PAIGE BERLING- MACKENZIE ART :: VICTORIA ZEOLI
“All at once it became so obvious: I wanted to be happy, so I needed to eliminate everything out of my life that was pulling me down.”
ravity is the force that pulls one
time as an adult. I was suffocating under
thing towards another. It’s what
the demands of a relationship that was
enables things to fall, and it restricts the
wrong for me in every possible way. I was
ease to lift back up. It’s what keeps you
suffocating under unfair expectations
on the ground. It takes effort to push
and restrictions. I was suffocating under
against it, or to pull away from it. It isn’t
my hopes that it would get better. I was
always easy. The heavier the object is,
so stressed, and my acne reflected that.
the greater the gravitational pull. The
I was so insecure about my appearance
greater the gravitational pull, the more
for the first time in my life, I don’t think
difficult it is to defy the power forcing
I even looked at a mirror for days at a
you down, keeping you down.
time. I had just moved out of my parents’ house for the first time into an apartment
One year ago, I was experiencing the
by myself. My bank account was seriously
worst months of my life. I was extremely
dwindling. After weeks of suffering from
holding two jobs and
itchy welts that covered my body, I found
taking a full course load of five classes,
bedbugs in my apartment. I had to move
none of which I enjoyed. I was on the
out for a month and along with throwing
go every single day of the week. I did
out the majority of my belongings, I had
not have time to rest. I did not have
to allow my apartment to be sprayed with
time to eat properly. I barely even had
chemicals. I didn’t have time for anything,
time to shower, let alone do laundry.
and my balance was completely off. My
I was part of a social group that made
grades suffered because of this. I was so
me feel worthless, that made me feel
emotional, I would literally cry over spilled
angry, that made me doubt myself. I had
milk. I hardly smiled or laughed, and if I
gotten braces, for the second time – this
did, I covered my mouth, ashamed of
VOLUME 8 :: REBIRTH
the metal that had taken over my teeth.
love, of gratitude, of excitement.
I wasn’t practicing yoga. I wasn’t doing
was tired of being suppressed into this
anything that made me happy. I wasn’t
unrecognizable shell of myself.
doing anything that made me, me. For
tired of surrendering in everything that
the first time in my life, instead of falling
was making me absolutely miserable. I
into my strength, I fell apart. I fell into
wanted to be happy. I had so much hope
the trap of surrendering to all that was
that things were going to change if I just
holding me down. I let the growing
held on long enough. Each day I woke
heaviness of what had become my life,
up thinking that that was going to be the
pull me down with greater force. I let
day that things would improve. It took a
morning of bawling in a stairwell at my
university, being verbally mistreated by One year ago, when the rare chance
my (then) boyfriend, exhausted by the
came along I would roll out my mat. I
stress of school and lack of sleep, and
would kneel down and place my hands
discouraged by everything that was not
palms up on top of each other in front
going my way to realize that things truly
of me. I would place my head into the
needed to change. With comfort from
cushion they created, lift my hips up
my best friend and numerous hysterical
above my shoulders, kick up… and come
phone conversations with my mom
crashing right back down. I would land
that morning, I was able to realize that
on my back, colliding into my couch, the
nothing was going to change unless I
wall, or whatever else was lying about in
changed them. It took me months to
my small, messy apartment. Time, and
reach this turning point, months to gain
time again, I would have this outcome.
the ability to see this situation with such
No matter how much I wanted to hold
clarity, months for me to see that things
myself in a headstand, I couldn’t to do it.
were only going to continue downhill
Instead of gathering up the strength that
unless I took control and put a stop to
I knew I had, I let myself kick too hard
it. I finally was able to realize that I didn’t
over and over again back to the ground.
need to let gravity win.
Instead of using the balance I knew I was
capable of, I didn’t trust in myself to find
All at once it became so obvious: I wanted
it, let alone stay there. I didn’t trust that
to be happy, so I needed to eliminate
I had the strength to resist the forces
everything out of my life that was pulling
pulling me down. I let gravity win.
me down. I eliminated each thing in my
I wanted to be done with these feelings
life that made me feel horrible. I wanted
to feel confident, so I stopped allowing
pathetic desolation. I wanted to see the
the feelings of self-doubt. I didn’t want to
light again in my face when I looked
be smothered in a relationship anymore,
in the mirror. I wanted to recognize
so I left him. I quit one of my jobs. I took
myself as beautiful once again. I wanted
less classes, dropping the ones that I
to be overwhelmed with feelings of
knew would push me over the edge and
challenge me in all the wrong ways. I
I have bubble baths on the regular. My
created a positive space around me, both
bed is always made. I spend time with
in my physical surroundings and with
friends and have really been solidifying
people. I spent more time with my tribe.
what Iâ€™m sure will be life-long friendships.
I quit the social group that was making
I spend a fair amount of time in solitude.
me feel worthless. I allowed myself to be
I go to yoga classes regularly. I laugh. I
angry â€“ both with him, the situation and
smile. I do my hair, have my outfits ready
myself. I allowed myself to be upset, to
for the next morning. I am comfortably
be hurt, and confused. And then, instead
settled in my apartment, and although
of surrendering to the things in my life
still getting the hang of budgeting
that were forcing me into this state of
for rent, groceries, and bills, my bank
account is a little more fruitful. I have
to the things that empowered me. I
time for my family. I am not suffocating in
allowed myself the comfort I craved. I
a relationship, nor am I holding negative
ate a lot of ice-cream. I found refuge in
energy towards the ones that I have had.
my family. I allowed myself to once again
On top of being successful in my classes,
feel beautiful, confident, and intelligent.
I read for enjoyment. I experiment with
I meditated and wrote, and used these
recipes. I bake banana bread weekly.
as tools to work through my misery and
I am surrounded by people that love
begin healing. I began to hold space for
me. I have learned what it means to
the person I had lost over the months,
surrender to self-love. I have learned to
and with that space, she started to show
unapologetically be entirely myself. I have
herself once again. I began to allow
found balance, and I have embraced my
tranquility, to cultivate peace and to
ability to stay there. I defy gravity.
build myself back up. I made the time
Today, I roll out my mat daily. I move
for yoga, and the balance gained in my
through sun salutations. I stretch my
practice extended to all the areas in
spine, my neck, my hips, and my core.
my life. Both my body and mind were
I release the tension in my body, the
becoming healthier, stronger, and more
tension in my mind. I build up heat and
flexible. The more time I allowed myself
strength within my moving body. I steady
to spend on my mat, the more balance
my breath and use that as the source of
I gained. And soon enough, everything
my power. I create that same cushion
fell into place: I wanted to be happy, and
with my palms as I did a year ago, but
I was. I wanted to stand on my head, and
when I place my head into it and kick up,
I balance. Every. Single. Time. I hold my
body upside down and perpendicular to Today, my apartment is always clean.
the ground. I focus my breath, strengthen
Dinner is always made, even with
my core, centre my balance, and hold it
leftovers for lunch the next day. I am in
for as long as I would like. I am able to
bed at a reasonable time, and never late
hold myself up despite the relentless
for work or class. My laundry is done and
force pulling me down. I defy gravity.
WORDS :: SOPHIE WARD ART :: UYEN TRAN-GJERDE
THE OPENING :: REBIRTHING THE SENSUAL SELF POSTPARTUM "W hen your rugged heart feels tender and worn, please remember you don't have to finish the dishes, or fold another towel. W hat we need to remember, is ourselves: our needs, our desires, our wants. Even when you don't know what they are, when you can't remember where to begin to reclaim yourself..."
otherhood is a quixotic beast. She
they see us differently too. This is okay, in
calls to us through starry nights,
fact – it is glorious. You just brought life
pulsing through our dreams, infusing
to this planet. You are a miracle.
our daylight with the whispers of the souls dancing near us. She carves room
As the babies grow and our days come to
for burgeoning bodies built of the four
a close, we find ourselves yearning. That
elements, and a fifth, slows down our
sweet yearning for long hours unrushed,
pace with her weight, and then bursts
for connection to the lover whose hands
the river dam when we least expect it.
you held in bed, in the car, at the cinema.
She has her own timing, not measured
We yearn for the things we once had,
by the hands of the clock.
tender lovemaking, candlelit dinners and wine. And yet, here is the opening. Here
Once we birth our hearts onto floors
is the door. When your rugged heart
fluorescent or worn, wooden or wet, we
feels tender and worn, please remember
are never the same. We burn brightly
you don’t have to finish the dishes, or
with the iridescence of her grace. We
fold another towel. What we need to
are the happiest we’ve ever been, and
remember, is ourselves: our needs, our
the saddest we’ve ever been, for in our
desires, our wants. Even when you don’t
giving we have lost. In our receiving
know what they are, when you can’t
we are overwhelmed with joy, and with
remember where to begin to reclaim
duty, and with life. Who am I now? We
yourself, start with something. Light a
ask ourselves the same questions, over
candle; hold a crystal under the stars in
and over. How do I relate with the world
your fist. You are an earthly being sewn
now that all my tidy squares are tipped
into the tapestry of this dimension by
up? We look at our lovers differently, and
your senses. Touch, smell, taste, sound
VOLUME 8 :: REBIRTH
and sight. We are intrinsic to the
in the way that pleases you. Let go of any
experiences we participate in, absolutely
concern over whether they’re enjoying it
part of the poetry.
(I guarantee they will be) enjoy yourself. You are here and now. This is your life,
I know your bruised body aches, your
and your love – it’s what we’re made of.
face is tired and your feet feel like lead – not too poetic at times. I also know that
This is the way of Tantra, where everything
you feel bitter and resentful; you slam
is a door. The kitchen floor is a door. Your
words that aren’t yours into the face of
soap worn hands, your farmer’s market
your beloved. This is not you. You feel
fingers, your body flowering babies, your
disconnected. You must reboot the
windswept hair: You are a door. Your
circuit; rewire the fuse. We need not do
beloved is a door. Your pregnancy and
this alone, mamas. You need not pack
birth and baby are a door. This is what
your bags and leave town. It takes work
we are here for, to go through these
– hard work – but what could be more
passages, journeying to the other side.
rewarding? You can do this. Here’s how
Who we are becoming is a magnificent
I’ve learnt to rebuild the bridges I have
process, a storytelling, a verb. You won’t
broken in relationship.
be complete until the last door opens. The story from now is as yet unwritten.
First, take a moment with your lover, no matter how you feel, with the intention to connect. You could assemble an altar or sacred space, perhaps a bed, or simply arrive together in a quiet place. Sit or stand comfortably and gaze into each other’s eyes. Drop all of your resistance, your anger and judgments. Drop in. Arrive. Stay. See your beloved as the God/Goddess/galaxy
Hold hands. Talk. There is no other way to create more time than to take it. Take it. Don’t worry about how long it has been since you made love, how wounded you feel, how self-conscious. Your lover chooses you. Your lover loves you exactly as you are. Run a hot bath, swirl scents and flowers and salts in it. Let yourselves love each other, without condition, without cause, without reason. One of the most beautiful reconnecting practices is that of touching your partner
â€œI am connected to the well of unconditional love that flows through all life, and I share and receive this love with all beings ...â€?
WORDS :: INDIGOMOON ENEMARK ART :: OUVRA MARIA
“C ome to me wild and untamed ... come to me wearing all your scars. I want to show you, just how beautiful you are.” - Tyler Kent W hite
here is an emotional hierarchy. The
between when I was being “good” and
more wild, or chaotic emotions are
“bad”. Over the last handful of years,
given less validity and discounted as
I’ve faced bigger scars, shadows and
dramatic. We live in a world that favors
challenges than ever before. Through
logic and reason over instincts, feelings,
that journey I’ve come to a place, where
and emotions. The social disapproval,
I can honestly say that I don’t play in this
which is also present even in many
game of emotional hierarchy anymore.
spiritual belief systems, trains us to put
My connection with my Inner Woman has
our emotions in a box we would rather
created a deep trust in my soul and my
not open. Modern cultures have become
unskilled in traversing the full spectrum of our soul and humanity. Sadly, we miss
The most beautiful prayer you can offer
out on the true feminine power and inner
yourself is to welcome yourself home,
sanctuary that is born out of the deep
to be willing to be with all of you, the
work it takes to reclaim our breakdowns,
many flavors of your soul and humanity.
emotions, and turmoil as a beautiful part
Welcome all of the faces of your Inner
of the human, spiritual ripening process.
Woman into your inner arms, leaving no part unloved. It is in this process of sitting
Growing up I often felt shame around my
in the fire, and rising from it again, that
sensitivity, emotionality, and how deeply
you imprint deep in your bones that you
I felt everything. I was told I was “too
can trust yourself. It takes courage to lean
much” and “too sensitive” and I began
into our tender heart, and kiss everything
to internalize these beliefs. In my teenage
we are feeling with our presence. This
years, I learned to numb these parts
simple act of welcoming ourselves is
of myself and create a strong polarity
exactly what takes us from breakdown
VOLUME 8 :: REBIRTH
to breakthrough. Although many of us
again and again, but never maturing into
fear we will get stuck when we dive into
ourselves and the women we came here
our deepest grief or fear, often it is the
opposite that happens. When we are grasping too quickly towards When we validate what we are feeling
the fix for our troubles, or struggling to
and give ourselves permission to feel
lean in, remember: your grief is wise.
what we feel, it creates space for us to
It will be your guide home if you trust
lean into what is alive in us. And when
yourself to lean in, fall apart, and listen
we lean in, we not only create space for
deeply. When you feel numb, it is actually
our emotions, we are creating space for
your own wisdom speaking to you. It is
being whole women: alive, free, and
waking you up and guiding you home.
radiant in all flavors. Once you trust
Disconnection happens not from what
yourself, and your sacred humanity, you
we feel, but from what we are not willing
know how to turn poison into medicine.
to feel. We need a culture, a community,
You know how to walk into the parts of
and most importantly ourselves, to truly
yourself that scare you the most, because
understand the wise teachers that show
you are connected to a much deeper and
up wearing many masks. For they often
much bigger part of yourself: your Inner
wear our deepest grief, pain, or fear.
We need people who have traveled the roads within themselves, who have
Although the process of leaning into
opened their own closed doors to share
the challenges in our lives can often be
with us, so they can now say – “You can
uncomfortable, it is nothing compared to
trust yourself. Let yourself fall apart. You
the pain and disconnection that happens
will rise again.”
when we abandon those parts of ourselves that speak from deep within. It hurts to not be mothered by ourselves when we need it the most. It is dangerously common to focus on positivity, and on rising from challenges, when we need more emphasis and celebration of the wisdom and beauty that is initiating us through our breakdowns, shadows, and emotions. Because when we turn our attention too quickly towards changing our emotions or feelings, we miss out on the initiation that is available to us within our own emotional landscape. Then, in turn, we get stuck in a cycle of coming up against our own well-known challenges
â€œ...call upon our sacred, divine connection to Spirit and sisterhood woven throughout everyday life.â€?
VOLUME 8 :: REBIRTH
Whispers From The Moon
I am Simone
A Terrifying Creature
The Many Faces Of Love
WORDS :: ADRIENNE OLIVER ART :: BUNNIE REISS
WHISPERS FROM THE MOON
“It began as an echo, and grew into a whisper, a cough, a hiss, a sigh. I couldn’t make out the words, but I know now that it was she – my child, my moon. Yes, she said.”
hen I was a girl, I imagined the moon held the secrets of the earth and stars and all the creatures of the world. My home was a place of science and discovery,
but not faith, and so I held this wish in my heart quietly – the wish that my prayers could be heard. At night, I would share my secrets. Moon, I would say, gingerly airing out the depths of me. I knew I could hear the moon whisper back to me, Yes. Like the expanding and waning moon, I daily shifted, and resisted consciousness. I made proclamations about my being, but I ran from reality and love and solid ground and fixed points for an eternity it seems. I longed deeply for their presence in my life, but fear was stronger than desire and so I leapt, bolted, fled. I often gazed at the moon, silently releasing the contents of my inner world, hoping she would provide an answer. This twisted abandon was the night of my life, the quiet, seeking darkness of my existence. His strong arms and wide chest caught me on a sunny, crisp afternoon, and I paused for awhile in his embrace. He was wild and starry-eyed and magic, and I was surprised to call him my own. Our world was deeply passionate, sensual, humorous, and unsteady. It felt on the verge of perfection or destruction at all moments, and I often wondered aloud if I was still running, chasing the horizon and dawn’s needed radiance. Stars are born following a collapse, and so was I. An implosion of sorts, as I fell into myself with the creation of life, with my daughter growing beneath my heart like a secret. For many months, I looked at moon, listening for her reverberating solace. Yes, was the reply, tinny and distant. This was not the familiar moon, the voice in my head, but rather a more tender, purer melody. It began as an echo, and grew into a whisper,
VOLUME 8 :: REBIRTH
a cough, a hiss, a sigh. I couldn’t make out the words, but I know now that it was she – my child, my moon. Yes, she said. In the earliest days, her sounds were still foreign, and the music inside her heart was muffled by the loudness of the new world. The fast-moving cars and big ideas of the outside shook the walls of our home, and it was weeks it seemed before we came up for air. In those days, I and the beings around me sought to calm the rising swell deep in my gut with shushing and warm hands on my arms. They embraced me and my girl, and they helped to shroud me, shield me, wrap me in the velvety darkness of familiarity and constancy. And so her voice grew strong and steady, and the veil was thrown off. The precious sigh that had overtaken my ears since my daughter’s birth was her self, calling to me. Her earthly presence made me strikingly aware of her birthright: a conscious guide, a mama in all senses, to lead and carry and lift and honor her being. I looked to the sky, and whispered to the moon, knowing that to fully become mama, I must step beyond the tranquilizing darkness and into the auspicious light. Yes, she said, and my path was written. Awakening is a tiny crack in the wounded, yearning soul where light slips in and stretches the bounds of awareness. To walk across the bridge of awareness, to become conscious of a longing heart or fluttering spirit, is to step into the light of awakening. It blesses the body with warmth and hope. And yet, it is merely the beginning. I walked across that bridge alone, with my child strapped to my chest, our heartbeats loud and defiant and synchronized. Though I often look back, I cannot journey back, for on this side the land is lush and green. Transitioning from awakening to rebirth is a jagged path, and no easy feat. Flowery words cannot decorate the painful and disorienting anguish of acute heartache. The birth of my moon child was, for me, a glorious awakening and a tremendous, crushing blow to the fragile love I held tightly in my hands. Oh, how I desired forever, and how deafening the silence of a lonely existence. I did not leave my lover because I lacked love. I left because I became aware of the work within me left undone. I left because I took a solemn, private oath to embrace all that I am meant for and to be. I left because awareness is a beautiful reckoning, but true ownership and love of Self is deliberate, persistent, resolute commitment to healing, reflective, mindful, daily growth. I was a creature wrapped in fear: fear of supposed failure in love and creation, fear of achievement, fear of acknowledgment, fear of untapped strength and womanly power, fear of my voice, fear of my true heart. I was merely running from true awareness of myself and the infinite, divine possibility
WHISPERS FROM THE MOON
within me. I was terrified to embrace the full power of my being and so I drowned it in late nights and insecurities and misplaced affections. I had for so long separated my lunar secrets from my daily actions that my being was fractured and wanting. I desired illuminating lightness of spirit and purpose. The impossible thought of looking into my child’s eyes with anything but total clarity behind my own sent me searching, and I am reborn, refreshed, renewed. I’ve yet to settle into my full realness. I believe the greatest piece of art, the most authentic life, the sweetest victory one can ever create is an honest, true Self, and a life built around it. In my walk towards this moment I have discovered that being “true to myself” does not mean a steadfast adherence to one version of my life, my body, my thoughts, but rather an acceptance of the ever-developing goddess within. Rebirth is a continuing practice, a daily meditation, a choice we mamas make time and again. The business of rebirthing is actively choosing fullness and actualization in each glorious moment. And so, I am a fiercely unfinished being, with fingers and toes in many pots. I dabble and dip, determined to discover the waiting pieces of myself, like water molecules floating through space, hopeful a collection will gather and rain upon my open soul. Once I was a girl, staring at the sky, praying for a response. I am a woman now. An ever-changing, incomplete, striving, aching, pulsating woman, and I hear the moon’s voice strong and clear not in the distance, but within. The moon points to me and says, Mama, and I say YES.
WORDS :: SIMONE HARRIS PHOTOGRAPHY :: SIMONE HARRIS
I AM SIMONE
“I had learnt that my body was not my own it would be theirs. It would belong to whoever showed attention and made me feel special...my worth was directly connected to my body.”
amaica: land of Reggae music, Red Stripe beer and the fastest man in the world, is also home to a deep rooted culture of silence.
But I have a story to tell. A story once shrouded in silence, secrecy and shame. It wasn’t until the collapse of my almost decade long relationship this year that I realised that my story had a recurring theme that left me trapped in a cycle of self destructive behaviour, self hate and a complete lack of self worth. My name is Simone and I am 32 years old. I was molested by my neighbour – an older boy – when I was 4 years old and a few years later by a family member. I have been serving what seems like a life sentence inside my own body ever since. I can still hear my grandmother’s words “Don’t let anyone tell you to take off your clothes for them.” The rest of her lecture tapered off into the distance and as I recall that moment I can see her mouth moving but cannot hear her voice. I was a quick learner and at 4 years old I had already learnt his lesson too well to forget - I was special and I was chosen because of what he did to my 4 year old body. I grew up in Jamaica in a middle class community, “God fearing” parents, neighbours who were like family. One neighbour in particular, who would babysit my sister and me, had a son who was about 5 years older than I was. He would come over to the house and he was like family, a brother. I don’t remember when but one day his visit turned into something else. My memories of playtime when he came over to our house involved sitting behind a patio chair on the veranda where no one could see us and him asking me to take my clothes off.
VOLUME 8 :: REBIRTH
When I did he would reinforce his lesson – that he touched me because I was special and only special girls were treated that way. We would spend what always felt like hours behind the chair. He would leave objects inside my underwear and say “THIS IS MINE”, referring to my vagina. My grandmother caught him touching me months after it started and the next year we moved away. I don’t remember how but the abuse I faced at the hands of my neighbour did not escape me, it simply picked up where it left off but this time with someone else – a family member. I had learnt that my body was not my own it would be theirs. It would belong to whoever showed attention and made me feel special – because this was what I had learnt. For me, my worth was directly connected to my body. If someone was not physically and sexually attracted to me – if they did not “want” to claim my body the way I had learnt before, then the person did not truly love me. I did not see myself as worthy of anything else and to be honest I didn’t know any other way. I carried this lesson until a few months ago when I escaped the prison that my silence created for me. I had never gotten professional help and my parents still do not know what happened to me growing up. They are quite old now and to trouble the waters would mean too much heartache for them. But today, the weight has become too much for me and I can no longer embrace the silence that makes me blame myself for what happened to me. Today, I break my silence and I free myself from the chains of shame that made me a prisoner. There are many others here, living in the land of wood and water, where all things are “IRIE” who have the same stories, many times much worse than my own. We grow up We try to make lives for ourselves Hiding all that happened to us. Protecting our abusers and accepting blame. In August 2015, I embarked on my journey to tell my story in pictures and in a single shot; I captured my struggle to break free - Prisoner 1 and 2. Set in a space that seems sterile, a space that was to be safe – my home. I am sitting in a dirty puddle with a dried up shrub courting danger between my legs. That was my prison – the dirty corner of the veranda, the dirty spaces of my home where family turned foe. These images gave voice to my story and have given me the courage to tell my story without shame and to reclaim my skin. I have started to talk more about my abuse and face what happened to me, sometimes in very public forums, which essentially resulted in me freeing myself from the physical, emotional and psychological prison where I lived for so many years. I now accept what
I AM SIMONE
happened to me as part of my story, BUT I have not allowed it to define me. I have started to engage with women who share similar stories and became a member of a women’s empowerment group called WE-CHANGE (Women’s Empowerment for Change), a rights-based, women-led, community-based advocacy group committed to increasing the participation of lesbians, bisexual and transgender [LBT] women in social justice advocacy in Jamaica and the Caribbean. Through WE-CHANGE I have received access to therapy, with an extremely supportive group of like-minded women who have experienced different types of trauma and who come together to get help but to also help others. I have had many revelations in these sessions, which has given me a new outlook on my life. The shame that straddled me before and made it difficult to see my present and even imagine a promising future is no longer with me. I am a 7th generation Maroon child – a direct descendant of Jamaica’s only national heroine - Nanny of the Maroons. She led her army against the British, fought for the freedom of her people and protected women and children. Lately, I have been on a path to own the word “feminist” because for me it represents generations of struggle to set women on the path to equality. I feel a deep ancestral connection to Nanny and I am committed to being a voice in my community speaking up and out for women and girls just like me – with a secret they are forced to carry, with shame that should never have been theirs to bear. I am Simone. I am 32 years old and I am no longer a prisoner.
WORDS :: LUCY DAVIES ART :: EMILY IRVINE
A TERRIFYING CREATURE
“Told I was broken. Told it would be hard. Told what I couldn’t do. Told I was different. Told by white coats with fancy titles and degrees that I can’t pronounce that they didn’t trust my body. And if they didn’t trust it, how could I?”
t had been almost three years since
if they knew. At sunset we gathered round
the last time I’d forgotten my name.
an ancient fire, played cards and listened
I had been doing so well. Occasionally
to the drums. My world slipped in and
in those years I’d find myself in a shop
out of focus, a friendly smile, a hug, a
and not know how I got there. I’d find
beer, bare toes, coconut husks, and a
the phone in my hand and wonder who I
surfer in the moonlight. The sand shifted
was calling. I dropped things and tripped
beneath my feet and the stars seemed to
over my feet. But I was well, I stayed
spin just for me, then darkness came.
upright, I knew my name. In my thirty
I blinked. Above me a ceiling fan whirred,
times around the sun it was perhaps the
my husband’s arm around me. “Hello,”
best I’ve ever been. I was so well in fact,
he said. My limbs burnt with an ache I
that I started to think perhaps it was all
hadn’t felt for three years. My stomach
just a fantasy, perhaps I’d never forget
churned and I threw up until the stars at
my name again. I was so well, I dared to
the beach party seemed to scorch my
dream. ‘Maybe,’ I thought, ‘maybe I no
eyelids. “I’ve had a big seizure,” I stated.
longer have epilepsy, maybe.’
He nodded and stroked my hair. I held in the tears, built a wall around my heart and
Then came the day that my moon blood
banished all my ‘maybes’ that I’d dreamt
should’ve flowed, I didn’t miss it at first,
of so recently. I willed sleep to come, to
lost in the waves on the shore of the
take me from this battle, to soothe my
Colombian Caribbean. I’d spent the day
aching limbs and relax my husband’s
collecting shells, duck diving under salt
creased brow, but just before it did a
water, dreaming of mermaid lairs. I’d
single maybe broke through. ‘Maybe I’m
watched as a squadron of pelicans flew
pregnant,’ I thought. Often my moon-
past and circled overhead. I wonder now
time was heralded by a hormonal assault
VOLUME 8 :: REBIRTH
that overcharged my synapses and
mine, whose mind I want to defend. So I
electrified neural pathways, its absence
wonder and think exactly how am I High
made me wonder and made me hope.
Risk? What am I at High Risk of? Super
Hope, that this time there was at least a
powers? Cosmic communication? Third-
reason behind the chaotic horror of this
new seizure. In the days that followed a little pink cross confirmed my desperate
Long ago I learnt humanity fears that
maybe and the darkness of that seizure
which we do not understand. Epilepsy
was shaken off with joy and anticipation.
and Pregnancy are both examples of
We returned home to England, to cups
this. Therefore it follows that for many,
of tea, toast and the NHS. My scorched
a pregnant epileptic woman is a truly
skin softened and healed, scarred but not
terrifying creature to behold. She must
bleeding, the word ‘epilepsy’ felt lighter.
be controlled, saved from herself by
Now I knew, despite everything, my body
was home to not one but two hearts. My
plucked from ancient history. What
cells had aligned, just like other peoples
the white coats seem not to see, to
could and created new life. Even the
be unable to comprehend, is that, for
dread of tonic clonic seizures didn’t
me epilepsy is simply an unwelcome
dampen my elation at this simple fact.
companion. An unreliable witness to
my body’s incredible power. A sleeping maternity
giant, a reminder that despite what they
appointment. My notes immediately
might wish to prove there is still unknown
rubber stamped ‘high-risk’, my choices
wonder in this world. Perhaps we are not
taken away. Told I was broken. Told it
meant to understand it all, perhaps that
would be hard. Told what I couldn’t do.
Told I was different. Told by white coats with fancy titles and degrees that I can’t
Perhaps it’s true as the doctors say, I am
pronounce that they didn’t trust my body.
broken. But equally possible perhaps I
And if they didn’t trust it, how could I? So
am enhanced. I don’t know what’s true,
I sat in endless corridors, watched white
or what it’s going to be like to give birth.
coats pass by, repeated my story to the
I can’t predict if the giant will awake, and
come crashing into the birth room like
an unwelcome guest, but I can choose
friends. I wondered, on what authority
what to believe. Either I focus on how
have I been marked out, branded ‘High
the white coats scratch ‘High Risk’ in
Risk’, follower of white-coat rule? You see,
blood across my face and let that define
it’s no longer just me that’s being thrown
me or I choose to see myself like you. A
out with this label, pushed into the pit of
woman, like millions before her, making
‘things-we-don’t-quite-get’. Now there’s
the long crossing from maidenhood to
another heart, another mind their labels
motherhood, with her eyes open, head
will affect. Another soul, nurtured by
high and full of hope for her new child.
Mr. Blue Skye
handwoven and dyed, wearable cosmic geodes
www.mrblueskye.bigcartel.com Mr. Blue Skye Fiber Art Studio Studio/Shop/Classes 1504 India St San Diego, CA
WORDS :: CORINNE WAINER ART :: ELLIZABETH JAMES
THE MANY FACES OF LOVE
“...before I could navigate towards full, empowered womanhood, I traveled 9,500 miles away to find myself. To my surprise, delight, humility, and deep comfort, the women I met along the way became my guides.”
uddenly the sound of my own pulse drowns out every siren in Midtown. I gasp to take full breaths but my lungs won’t hold more than a handful of air. The machine
beeps faster than 14 hands can reconcile, the onset of a heart attack, every angle of my body beginning to twist, clench, and panic like wet concrete pushing young roots downward—the sun eclipsed, then ripped away. My tears, humid and blinding, mar everything in sight except for two round bulbs blinking down at me. Lucidly dreaming, they become my grandma’s eyes and I want to tell her how ashamed I am. I reach for a hand I wish was hers and can almost hear those gold bracelets clanging against the kitchen counter as she makes breakfast, but the doctor’s grasp jolts me back into my conscious skin just in time to smell it burning. In reality, the signs my body gave me started years before the day part of my cervix was removed. An abusive relationship with a man damaged me there, but the abusive relationship I had with work ferociously taxed my hormones and immune system, the abusive relationship I had with dieting and working out led to gum disease and a severely dislocated shoulder, and the abusive relationship I had with myself spiraled me into chronic insomnia. But this moment at the hospital, when the discharge nurse explained how the risks of my surgery included perhaps never carrying children, proved to be the milestone that changed everything. I could no longer ignore my body when it screamed at me—so loud it seemed to oscillate and shatter everywhere—that if I didn’t learn to love myself I would lose everything it means to be a woman. Yet before I could navigate towards full, empowered womanhood, I traveled 9,500 miles away to find myself. To my surprise, delight, humility, and deep comfort, the women I met along the way became my guides. In Malaysia, Australia, Hungary,
VOLUME 8 :: REBIRTH
Austria, Italy, and Spain, I met a woman for every broken part of me, who knew how to listen to and love her body when it talked. First there was Rekah, who showed me a picture of herself morbidly overweight just a few years before. Sitting across from me at work, she had hearty oatmeal each morning and wasn’t afraid to have a treat or two with afternoon tea. She shared her healing story of jump rope and meditation, and consistently tagged me on Instagram in photos of fit, strong women. Rekah taught me to honor my hunger, enjoy and respect all foods in moderation, embrace the beauty in strength over anything else, and to love myself enough to fully recover from binge eating disorder and exercise addiction. There were Veena and Natasha—two of my beloved students—who would laugh, sigh, and say, “Miss, you are so gorgeous!” every single morning until I finally came to believe them. While learning English, their favorite words and phrases became those that uplifted other girls. I’ll never forget the poster their group of friends created to represent Oscar Wilde’s, “Be yourself, everyone else is already taken”—it was a thirsty person holding an umbrella the typical way, looking judgmentally at someone with an upside down umbrella catching raindrops. Veena and Natasha showed me how to shine without makeup, smile and laugh with my whole being, say positive and helpful things towards myself, and be inwardly loving to the point that I could finally sleep at night knowing I, too, am lovely and lovable. Then came Nadia, she had moved across the world about a year prior. Every afternoon when she finished work, Nadia wanted to play outside and mostly—jump into the water. She had always adored the sea but I realized swimming in it was not a means of escape from her work or life, but a joyful, triumphant, refreshing, energetic celebration at the end of an amazing day. She excelled at her job because she was receptive to feedback, took initiative to level any of her own learning curves, and constantly asked herself if her role was empowering. After visiting Nadia for nearly a month, I knew that coming home meant loving myself into an entirely new career; one where work and play merged into one beautiful wave. I began designing my women’s yoga collective on the plane, and as soon as I landed and started taking classes with Elena Brower again, my Adrenal Fatigue disappeared and my period returned after nearly 8 months of absence. Walking out of an annual checkup at the hospital a few months ago—free and clear of all aforementioned side effects—I dialed up my best friend Nina. She told me of the love that grew between her and her boyfriend while I was away, and a little light bulb went off above my head as to exactly what I want and deserve in a partner should I choose to have one. As I visualized him clearly in my mind’s eye, my grandma and
global sisters also came into view and in their many faces I recognized the many faces of myself I’d grown to love. I felt so wildly grateful for their teachings that I couldn’t imagine my women’s yoga collective as just a stopover where people will come, practice, and leave. On a napkin in Brooklyn, I drew a second room—dedicated to educational events. Then a third—an organic café and workspace. Underneath the sketch I wrote boldly, “accessible and sustainable wellness for women from every spectrum.” And I noticed, in a rare moment of stillness, that my body felt whole. And in a way it asked me, gently but with urgency—“What does it mean to be a woman?” I responded from my newfound place of self-love that to be a woman is to hear and acknowledge my body’s wisdom when it tells me the difference between what is welcome in my heart and what is allowed in my home. It was so powerfully purposeful, and I was so viscerally moved that the tears revisited but this time they were fresh and prismatic. I set out to build a community where more women can learn to love themselves—and more stunningly, each other.
WORDS :: CENTEHUA DENEKEN ART :: MARIE GARDNER
â€œKali the dark goddess is our intuition, she is the oracle, and she is not to remain hidden.â€?
a Kali, the great mother, the fierce destructive power as well as the creative force. To embrace her is to become whole. During these shifting times when our
shadows are coming out into the light it is most important to join the transformative dance of Kali. She is the most powerful and most misunderstood aspect of the divine. It is natural to fear her, for she is here to shake the foundations that have been built upon illusion. The archetype of the dark, angry feminine has been stigmatized and thus repressed for thousands of years. We have been fragmented and scattered throughout the earth. The goddess was literally dismembered, cast out, forgotten. In order to remember who we are, we must go and re-member the goddess. We are gathering the pieces of us that were not acknowledged, respected, honored. We are looking into places where we never dared look before, venturing into the unknown, and embracing the mystery of being woman. We are remembering the blood mysteries of our wombs, healing our lineage, calling in our ancestors. We are facing our truth, daring to feel vulnerable again so that we may live authentically.We are creating new rituals and gathering in sisterhood, opening the circle, trusting each other, building sincere relationships. Kali the dark goddess is our intuition, she is the oracle, and she is not to remain hidden. She is the alchemical fire that slays away the stories that have been passed down through generations of wounded women, she cuts through the patterns and trauma that is encoded in our DNA, she knows that we are no longer willing to be silent and pass on more dysfunction. She is not only a destructive force, She also nurtures our passion, she dances amidst adversity, she fuels the sacred fire in our hearts, that which burns with creative power and drives us to seek truth as we learn to be unapologetically ourselves. When we are tired of pretending or acting from a place
of obligation, it is the dark goddess archetype whose gift is the depth in wisdom that burns karma, negative patterns and shifts the course in our lives. You see our wisdom is thick and dark like our blood. In order to awaken this wisdom and tune into our wombs we must learn to integrate the darkness, the shadow, and the visceral aspects of life and learn to dance with our fears. All that was hidden, Kali brings to the light, it will be uncomfortable to be confronted with our judgements and prejudices but we cannot fully love and honor ourselves until we are willing to see it all. To dance with Kali is to be naked, vulnerable, completely open, raw, real, untamed. She is the wild, she cannot be domesticated. She is the part in you that knows who you were before your parents, school, and culture told you who to be. Before anybody began projecting their fears, hopes and aspirations unto you, before you identified with the material world, you knew yourself to be free, boundless, eternal, and fearless. To embrace Kali is to face our own mortality with courage, she represents the death and rebirth cycles: destruction and creation. This awareness can play as the catalyst
VOLUME 8 :: REBIRTH
for our spiritual awakening. Kali is not a victim, she is sovereign unto herself, she has no need to blame anyone or anything, she destroys what is no longer is serving and nurtures what needs to grow. The collective is being called to take responsibility for the destruction of our mother; we are living in a time of great crisis which precipitates an inevitable change. It is the resistance to face our deepest fears that has kept us in denial, separated, distracted, desensitized. It is important to touch the wound, to feel the indignation and righteous anger in order to stand up and fight for our mother earth and our children. The dark goddess asks us to feel, to engage fully with emotion, for wisdom comes with a sting and the heaviness we feel are the contractions of our rebirth. That is why we call Kali Ma. Great mother help us open our eyes to our expectations and projections, help us see that we are whole and need no oneâ€™s validation but our own. In order to shift the course in our path and rise anew, we must dive deep into the darkness as individuals so that we can bring about a positive shift in our world. Temporary remedies are no longer enough, we are not treating symptoms, and we are ready to dive into the root of our dis-ease. Our insecurity, our abandonment fears, our wounded child, teenager, mother and all the fragmented pieces of us hold the key to our liberation. Gaze into her fiery determined eyes, the darkness has gifts for you, there is nothing to fear, trust her, she is Mother. She loves all of you even the parts you forbid anyone to see. Yes it takes courage to go through the fire, to burn your identity into ashes. The ego clings for dear life, but you are brave, you are stronger than you think. All we need is a willing heart; we must learn to be kind, gentle, and compassionate with ourselves. It is time we bow to the darkness and the shadows, making an offering of gratitude for the lessons that have brought us to this place. May we share our gifts boldly and unashamedly as we walk each other home. With infinite gratitude and appreciation for our sisterhood, Blessed rebirths!
WORDS :: LYNZIE ALLYN ART :: KALLEN MIKEL SCHMERLER
THREEFOLD MOTHERHOOD: AN INTRODUCTION TO ANTHROPOSOPHICAL PARENTING
May light stream into you
Accepting that your child has a past
that can take hold of you
establishes the simple but important
I follow its rays with the warmth
fact that your child has lived before,
of my love.
bringing into this life karma that is wholly
I think with my thinkingâ€™s
individual and unique to his or her soul
best thoughts of joy
development. It means that from before
On the stirrings of your heart.
even conception, there was a conscious
May they strengthen you, may they
decision on the part of your baby - and
carry you, may they cleanse you.
consent from you, on a spiritual level - to incarnate into this life.
I want to gather my thoughts of joy Before the steps of your life, That they unite with your will for life,
It is obvious your child has a present
So that it finds itself with strength
as they are here in the physical world.
In the world, evermore, through itself.
What is perhaps less obvious is that your childâ€™s present is their own; though it coincides with yours, their reality
is entirely created according to their t its very core, anthroposophical
experience is what informs their truth
fundamental cosmic truth: your child
from moment to moment. It is more than
has a past, a present, and a future. This
likely your individual interpretations of
seems simple enough, but it actually
the same interaction will not be in exact
requires a great deal of free thinking to
alignment. This is true for virtually all
truly allow for the magnitude of these
human communication, it is not reserved
statements to be realized.
to the parent-child dichotomy.
Their version of each
VOLUME 8 :: REBIRTH
Your childâ€™s future is all their own.
rather obvious. Every baby must learn to
Expectations can be easily misplaced;
sit, to stand, to crawl, to walk, to speak,
there is a significantly different gesture
and to chew, the list is endless. So too
between holding space for your child
must every baby learn to think, to listen,
to unfold from within versus exerting
to share, to write, to read, to calculate,
to plan, to problem solve, to empathize,
It is extremely
rewarding to watch your child naturally
and so forth.
These are stages which
come into themselves, to witness their
are not quite as obvious, but which also
Alternatively, it can
require internal nurturing. It is essential
be quite challenging to attempt to force
to whole child development to cultivate
any manner of being upon an individual.
equally the capacities of the head, the
While we want what we think is best for
heart, and the hands.
our children, it is not always in the best interest of their own journey. This can be
The expedition of the soul starts before
hard to comprehend as a parent, but it
birth and continues on after death.
can also be very liberating.
It is both a tremendous honor and responsibility to be charged with guiding
As I have come to better understand the
a child through the aspects of incarnation.
deeper implications of what it means to
The purpose of Threefold Motherhood
accept past-present-future, I have also
is to fully examine the underlying
come to find ways to distill this awareness
foundation of the human experience, to
into practical skills for supporting the
inspire action toward enabling your child
healthy incarnation of a growing human
to achieve balance in thinking, feeling,
being. Sadly, we live in a world which
and willing, and to provoke your own
has moved away from the natural rhythm
instincts as a mother. It is you who knows
of the cosmos in favor of an absurdly
your child best, until they come to know
quickened version of childhood.
themselves. By striving to understand the
celebrate early talkers and walkers,
divinely intricate complexities of what it
encourage early cognitive education, and
means to be a human, and then applying
even condone premature sexualization,
this understanding toward supporting
as opposed to defending the virtues of
your child through each phase of coming
a youth unadulterated by overexposure.
into being, a deeper, more fulfilling
This is not the best approach, and I am
relationship develops between mother
therefore a strong advocate for a return
to living with a more holistic cadence.
exchange which serves as the basis for a
This is exactly the kind of
lifetime of mutual growth and everlasting Each
through the archetypal development of human consciousness, which sounds complicated, but in essence is remarkably easy to ascertain as the evidence is
â€œ...feel called to invite and empower the essence of divine feminine. â€?
INTERVIEWS AND WISDOM
VOLUME 8 :: REBIRTH
The Women of NUNA
Tree Of Life
WORDS :: HANNAH RAE PORST AND MAGGIE HARRSEN PHOTOGRAPHY :: HANNAH RAE PORST AND MAGGIE HARRSEN
THE WOMEN OF NUNA Maggie Harrsen of P UAKAI HEALING and Hannah Rae Porst of W ILLKA YACHAY have created a spiritual retreat inspired by the living energy of Pachamama in Peru: NUNA. They are preparing for their next retreat this summer, and took a moment to share with us what inspired their journey and what participants can expect when they answer NUNA’s call.
What prompted the idea of NUNA? Who is this retreat aimed to teach? Pachamama, Mother Earth, inspired us to create NUNA, where people connect with Her deeply. Nuna is Quechua for Spirit. Our retreats are open to everyone. Pachamama helped us create NUNA as a warm, inclusive environment for self-healing through ceremony, adventure and communion with her. As our curandera guide, Wilma, says, “Each step we take is a prayer.” We hold space for personal discovery and fulfillment. A participant on our fall 2015 journey wrote, “My eyes and heart are now fully open.” Her words capture our offering beautifully. We, Maggie and Hannah, met in Peru in November of 2014. Maggie was studying with an Andean mystic and Hannah was working with her non-profit in the high Andes. At our first in person meeting, we each had visions of journeys which became NUNA. The seed was planted! The information we can read about NUNA on the website is beautiful, yet leaves a little mystery regarding this 9 day journey through the Peruvian mountains. What kind of daily activities will take place there? What should participants expect? How can they prepare? On our journeys we weave through different climates, altitudes and landscapes… from visiting sacred Inkan sites in the lush Sacred Valley to trekking at 14,000 feet in the remote Q’eros Nation. We create despacho offerings, listen to coca readings, make
VOLUME 8 :: REBIRTH
pottery and flutes, shear alpacas, and play with schoolchildren. We learn from Andean mystics and hold ceremony with elders. We are fully present in nature; meditating, journaling, walking in the sun of the Sacred Valley and the clouds of Q’eros. Day to day itineraries for each journey are posted on our website during registration. We work to ensure everyone is prepared and has a nurtured, transformative experience. What are your hopes for yourself through holding space for the guests of this retreat? It is very fulfilling to connect our travelers with wise and sweet Peruvian mystics and healers. We love participating in all of the ceremonies. We hope to inspire love of Pachamama and help indigenous people share their earthcentric wisdom. Our journeys hold space for self-healing and growth of Spirit. How is NUNA different than other journeys discovering the depths of the spirit? NUNA curates exhilarating and profound healing adventure trips. We share wonderful food, eco-lodging, a high mountain expedition, hot spring baths, ancestral earth skills, plant medicine, weaving lore, and ceremony. Each trip is different! Our summer 2016 trip will include transmission of the Ñusta rites, which help to awaken the divine feminine in us, women and men. During our retreats we learn Ayni - sacred reciprocity. Our journeyers know the peace of giving and receiving in harmony. During our expedition to Q’eros this past November, our group had the honor of naming a newborn baby girl, the first child of a young couple. Each of us blessed her with glacial water from holy mountain Wamanlipa. We gave her the name Nuna Chaska, Spirit Star. Our travelers make deep connections with indigenous people and the natural world.
What are your plans for the future? How often will NUNA happen? We plan to lead three to four NUNA journeys a year. In 2016 we are offering a trip in the summer, June 23rd â€“ July 2nd , and two more in the fall. Each trip will be unique with different ceremonies, healing modalities, and cultural connections; some journeys will be in the Andes mountains and others in the Amazon rainforest, or both! This fall we will lead a family journey to Peru. With Munay, Hannah and Maggie You can learn more about Nuna Journeys of Spirit @nunajourneysofspirit www.puakaihealing.com/nuna
HANNAH RAE PORST :: Peruâ€™s living mountains and earth wise people are my teachers. The Qâ€™eros, the wisdom keepers of the Andes, are my soul family. Last of the Inkas, they have much to teach us about service to each other and to our natural world as a path to understanding, joy and contentment. I live in Peru and my primary work is as founder and director of Willka Yachay. We are a non-profit organization dedicated to helping indigenous communities thrive in the modern world through holistic education, cultural preservation, health care, infrastructure, solar energy, textile trade and other community development projects. @hannitarae + @willkayachay www.willkayachay.org
THE WOMEN OF NUNA
MAGGIE HARRSEN :: My path to personal healing began through an Andean Despacho Ceremony and a Khuya Healing with a medicine woman from Q’ero. I live in deep reverence for this land and her people - they are my teachers. Through this tradition of healing I was able to understand my sensitivities as an energetic being and find new ways to nurture my wellbeing and live in harmony with Mother Earth. My soul path is as an Energy Medicine Practitioner, holding ceremony and individual healing sessions for women, men and children on the East End of New York where I live and also in NYC. I hold the sacred space for healing, working within the subtle energy field to access one’s natural state of wellbeing while supporting the human body’s innate capacity to heal itself. My work integrates various nurturing practices including Andean Mysticism, Shamanism, Usui + Shamanic Reiki, Sound Healing, Nutrition, Medical Radiesthesia and Flower Healing. @puakai www.puakaihealing.com
WORDS :: GENEVIEVE SLONIM ART :: INDIA EVANS
TREE OF LIFE
“All changes, even the most longed for, have their melancholy; for what we leave behind us is a part of ourselves; we must die to one life before we can enter another.” - Anatole France
s Maiden we are like a young tree that has sprouted from a single seed. Our roots provide us with what we need to grow. We drink up everything in the fertile
ground of our environment made up of friends, parents, schools, neighborhoods and countries. All the songs, customs, foods and stories of our youth nourish our roots as we grow and sway and dance in the wind. As Maiden it is our own growth that we focus on. If the soil and earth of our youth was nutrient poor, if our roots were shallow and weak, many of us spend years healing, repairing and tending to our own garden and its growth. We repair the damaged parts of ourselves and learn to love ourselves with a new sense of self worth. Our branches reaching out to discover more, perhaps leaving behind many of the old ways we may have outgrown. With mistakes and sorrows some of our branches may break, but our core self, the trunk of the tree, becomes solid as we develop a sense of what we care about. Our roots become firm. These are the years of development as we come into our own. With no one to live for but ourselves, we continue to evolve into our full potential. For many women, pregnancy marks the first major transformation experience. Our shape changes. Our habits change. Our sense of self changes. What we need to nourish our roots changes. We ripen with new life. But the death of the Maiden comes swiftly with the birth of the Mother and baby. The transition is immediate, powerful and final. In a matter of hours, perhaps days, a woman is transformed into mother. There is no denying the newborn at her breast and her change of status is public and recognized by the community around her. This is not a private and personal transformation. No longer the ‘daughter of’ she has become the ‘mother to’ with all the ancestral, historical
VOLUME 8 :: REBIRTH
and cultural expectations and attachments of what it is to be MOTHER . Whether she has finished growing or not she must also now tend to the growth of her baby. Having created life she is now responsible to nourish and sustain her babies. The fruits of her tree become the life giving sustenance she passes onto her children. Each fruit a lesson, a skill, a value and a dream to give them. Mother creates the fertile ground for her children to grow in. At times the fruits are so plentiful that she is overcome. No longer seen for her own core self she is literally overshadowed by the fruits she gives to others. She may long for the days of Maiden and mourn her death, but she has been rebirthed into the creative vortex of mother. In the words of Rumi: I died a mineral, and became a plant. I died a plant, and rose an animal. I died an animal and I was a woman. Why should I fear? When was I less by dying? Yet once more I shall die. O let me not exist – for non-existence I gain the Universe To be mother now is to be everything, the creator, sustainer and protector of life. Moving through the first years of our children, we integrate all aspects of ourselves with renewed purpose and meaning. As a deeply rooted sustainer of life, our branches yet again reach out to taste and touch the winds. We are grounded yet fly. A beautiFULL rich period wherein life is full, we are full. A balance can be enjoyed between ourselves, ‘the trunk’ or core of who we are, and the fruits that we bear. Our fruits, these children, begin to ripen. Together with our life partner we mature and create a universe. As Kahlil Gibran spoke of: Give your hearts, but not into each other’s keeping. For only the hand of Life can contain your hearts. And stand together yet not too near together: For the pillars of the temple stand apart, And the oak tree and the cypress grow not in each other’s shadow If Mother was born out of the death of Maiden what of Crone? Does mother die to be reborn into a wise elder? Not so, because once a mother always a mother, and so this transformation into Crone, Elder, Wise Woman is a more gradual transition. Whereas the emergence of mother was rapid and public, the rebirth into Crone creeps in slowly, on a personal level , so that only the truly perceptive sense her coming.
TREE OF LIFE
Society has confined the emergence of Crone to outward symbols of aging. She is pictured wrinkled, grey haired and bent over like a tree whose fruit has dropped and leaves have fallen. She is barren without the ability to create life. She is withered and represents the opposite of the blooming Maiden or Mother in full bloom. But, there is another story to tell. A mighty redwood or oak whose trunk is solid and roots run deep. A sanctuary for contemplation and a universe of wisdom to share. Her tree rings, her years lived, are rich with medicine, healing, sustenance and wisdom. The emergence of Crone represents a womanâ€™s recognition that she is a teacher. Aware of her magic, her pockets are full of amulets, potions and herbs. Her hands strong by years of weaving baskets and dreams. She is now mindFULL and soulFULL of birth wisdom, life wisdom and death wisdom having held space for the entire circle of life. Maiden and Mother may have faded but the rebirth of Crone is like a tree resin revealing a woman at her purest essence. Like Frankincense, Amber and Myrrh, the teachings of Crone are preserved and passed down from generation to generation. Even at the end of her life as she faces her own death, she takes comfort in the lives of her grown children. Her grown children are like fruits on the earthen ground, themselves overripe, but deep within are seeds ready to spill out for new life to be created. These seeds are the Legacy of Crone, of grandmother, of wise elder, of shaman. When Crone dies her seeds sprout forward carrying her wisdom to the next generation. This is the Cycle of Woman. This is the Cycle of Life. This is the Cycle of Death and Rebirth.
VOLUME 8 :: REBIRTH
Sleeping Beauty Awakens
WORDS :: ANNABELLE PRAZNIK ART :: JACQUELINE SOPHIA CORDOVA
SLEEPING BEAUTY AWAKENS
“Very well, then I contradict myself, I am large, I contain multitudes.” -Walt W hitman
here are quartz veins bleeding down the walls. Slight streams that flicker like the flames of my mother’s prayer candles long ago. La Bella Durmiente is the
mountain’s name. Sleeping Beauty. Her curvaceous body curls around homemade rooftops and hand dug mines. Her thighs, hips and spine are dressed in glacial snow and ice. That’s where we live in tin houses that shiver with the wind. My mother was a soothsayer. The miners would come to her in search of good fortune. She gave them flowers, candles, liquor bottles. She told them to write pleas to deities and beg forgiveness for their sins. For most, their sins were stacked as high as the mountain, 17,000 feet above the sea. Close enough that God could see the outlaws, pirates and cowboys who came to my mother. La Rinconada is a land of lawlessness. We are a state built upon belief, rather than regulation. I don’t know much of the world beyond, but I think every place must be wild in its own way. Here, we are centered around the gold beneath our feet; La Bella Durmiente’s treasure. My mother used to tell my sister and I that we were like the mountain. She told us that we contained multitudes beneath our chapped cheeks and weary eyes. She said that she knew this because we were born whole. We all were, she claimed. But, like the mountain, we were fractured by the hammers of an unruled world until we were nothing but a thousand flecks of gold winking in the darkness. At age twelve, I left school to work on the mountain. I scaled the steep slope upon loose rock that blackened my boots. From dawn until dusk, I scoured the granite for
VOLUME 8 :: REBIRTH
gold missed by miners. Each day, I worked until my fingers froze. When my mother fell ill, I left the mountain. She had caught the sickness that creeps across the earth and water like a rolling fog. Mercury poisoning. Tremors, irritability, insomnia. Until she died, she stayed in her darkened room whispering to faces that weren’t there. At age fifteen, I began work in the cantina. That’s where I was taught how to love. By being seen and not heard. By smiling and telling the men that they were brave. By wearing red lipstick and laughing at every joke. I didn’t let myself think about the kissing and touching. The hot tobacco tongues, the sweaty palms, the names they called me, the sting of a slap, the taste of my own blood blooming from my swollen lips. I didn’t mind it for myself, but when my sister came to work in the shadows with me I knew I must make a change. For, in her eyes I could see the same darkness that had grown to cloak me entirely. The pain was beginning to eclipse her. I decided that we must leave the mountain. With the little money I had I bought two bus tickets. I packed two suitcases, took my sister’s hand and told her to say goodbye. She folded into herself and wept steadily. “How?” she asked. “How can you be a warrior when all you have known is defeat?” I stroked her long, inky hair and hummed to her. “Because I am the mountain,” I said, “and I contain multitudes.”
â€œBe our truest selves: lovers of all that is, Mothers of the Universe.â€?
VOLUME 8 :: REBIRTH
Chrissy Harts Sacred Shadow Angela Sumner
Shadow Self Integration
The Empath and Addiction
Twists and Turns
Change the Dream
Healing the Inner Child
WORDS :: CHRISSY HARTS ART :: CELESTE BYERS
“Shadow does not only consist of seemingly evil human qualities, but can also show up as light qualities that have yet to be integrated. Regard less if the quality holds more positive or negative connotation, assimilating Shadow aspects inspires us all to live more authentically!”
hadow is a term used to describe
subconscious. When the unconscious is
the ancient part of our human
brought into our awareness, Shadow
inheritance that we try to ignore or
pieces can be utilized as powerful allies
hide, even from ourselves. Carl Jung,
on our path. Awareness around personal
a psychiatrist known for his work in the
projection is the first step of integrating
Shadow realm, describes it as the ‘dark
our own Shadowy aspects and lives with
side’ of our personality. “Dark both
because it tends to consist predominantly of the primitive, negative, socially or
The World does not present a clear
religiously depreciated human emotions
reflection of what is, like a mirror, it reflects
and impulses like sexual lust, power
back our inner world. Any time we are
strivings, selfishness, greed, envy, anger,
met by a person or situation that initiates
or rage; and due to its unenlightened
a physical fight or flight response and
makes us feel the need to respond with
consciousness. Whatever we deem evil,
hyper vigilance, declaring with certainty,
inferior or unacceptable and deny in
‘that is not me!’ it’s an indication that
ourselves becomes part of the shadow.”
some Shadow quality has been stirred
As long as Shadow remains something
up deep in the darkness of the personal
outside of us, it will always exist as
subconscious. Carl Jung explains that,
a separate entity. To experience our
“everyone carries a Shadow, and the
unintegrated Shadow, we unconsciously
less it is embodied in the individual’s
cast it onto others as projection. Some
conscious life, the blacker and denser
people or situations play out our Shadow,
it is.” Projection separates how we wish
reenacting scenes right in front of us,
to be from the dark, often guilt-laden
showing projections deeply rooted in the
aspects, that we hope stay hidden.
VOLUME 8 :: REBIRTH
Separation is the catalyst for imbalance,
do not shine the light on it; we can only
and the Shadow can become friend or
get comfortable with our darkness by
enemy. When we deny our shadow we
exploring in the Shadow realm. Shadow
unknowingly give it power, and when
does not only consist of seemingly evil
power is not directed with conscious
human qualities, but can also show up
intent, it shows up when least expected.
as light qualities that have yet to be
Shadow is most destructive when it has
integrated. Regardless if the quality holds
been habitually repressed.
more positive or negative connotation, assimilating Shadow aspects inspires us
For all of the unconscious projection we
all to live more authentically!
create every day, there is an underlying gift beneath even the darkest Shadow.
To become acquainted with our shadow
These gifts are simple, based on comfort
pieces and utilizing their energies just
and survival. For instance, “I don’t have
as we would tools in a toolbox, helps to
to take responsibility,” “I don’t have to
maintain the balance of our inner world
step into my power,” “I don’t have to
and integrity in our outer world. Shadow
face my fear,” “My current belief system
plays an integrative part in our whole
is supported,” etc. are a few examples
of underlying gifts that may be buried
There is a time and place for all of the
in the darkness of Shadow. Taking
qualities we possess. By taking conscious
ownership of the seemingly dark desires
ownership of our tools, we can use them
within is often the deepest challenge.
with grace and intent, knowing to put
These desires are part of the collective
them away when we are complete with
consciousness, passed down from our
the task at hand. Dive into your darkness,
ancient ancestors and their energy still
dig up the roots of limiting beliefs,
arises in all, in one way or another. Once
change how your Shadow shows up in
we uncover our hidden motives, we
the world, and live a life of authenticity
have the freedom to create new ways of
receiving the gift without the need for This experiential journey of self-discovery
more disempowering projections.
and ownership of Shadow will help clear Rigorous self-inquiry and the openness
space, for Shadows dance in the light,
to receive information that perhaps we
where light and dark are acknowledged
don’t want to hear or see is necessary
as equally important and honored for
to step into your Shadow work. “One
their great gifts.
imagining figures of light, but by making
All you need is a piece of paper, a pen,
and an open mind. Close your eyes and
procedure, however, is disagreeable
take a few breaths right where you are
and therefore not popular.” In order to
to clear your mind and settle into your
become acquainted with Shadow, we
• Think of a character in your life, real
does this show up when I am unaware?
or fictional, that gets your blood boiling and who makes your wheels turn in the
• If you have an answer for at least two
worst way possible.
of those questions, you can begin to see how the Shadow aspect is truly an ally
• Write the name on your paper and
here to support you in the right context.
below, write the 3 qualities that make you dislike the character.
• Of the 3 “light” qualities, dig deep to see how they are true for you too.
• On the other side of the page, think of
Sometimes theses lighter aspects need
a character in your life, real or fictional,
to be integrated for us to fully step into
that inspires you and makes you feel
grateful in the most beautiful way. • When we embody our “light” Shadow • Write the name on your paper and
qualities, it encourages us to step into
below, write 3 qualities that make you
our Power with confidence.
inspired by the character. • Ask yourself: Why is it a challenge to You now have a list of 6 qualities, observe
take ownership of this? How do I benefit
this list with an open mind and feel how
from denying this aspect of myself? How
each of them exists in you. Somehow,
can I embody this more in my daily life?
some way these Shadow qualities are your projection.
• When these questions are answered, our light qualities reveal themselves
• Of the 3 “dark” qualities, dig deep
as our own rather than something that
to see where their roots are in your
subconscious. Sometimes they reveal themselves quickly; sometimes we have
• One final question when you look at all
to do some digging to unearth the
of your 6 qualities: What belief do I need
to shift to integrate these qualities with grace and integrity?
• Once you take responsibility for the presence of these qualities in your
• Take the time to celebrate your shadow
subconscious, you make them conscious!
qualities! They are all beauty!
• When these qualities are made conscious, you can have an honest look at them, and discover their purpose. • Ask yourself: How has this served me? How do I benefit from this quality? How
WORDS :: ANGELA SUMNER ART :: CANDICE CAMERON
SHADOW SELF INTEGRATION :: NOTES FROM A DARK WORKER “W hen we take time to get to know our shadow selves, when we let her exist WHEN she needs to exist, HOW she needs to exist, and WHERE she needs to exist, a real level of vulnerability seeps out.”
very year, as one calendar comes to a close and the next opens with a blank slate, we find ourselves celebrating the previous 365 days of transformation…
and welcoming the opportunity for 365 new chances. The New Year’s Eve night of anticipatory magic is about ringing in the coming year - the future. Most people set intentions, how they want things to be different, and what they want to reflect upon so that they don’t repeat the past. It is very rare that we are in the moment every December 31st. We spend all day waiting for midnight to strike. Then midnight has struck and we are all of a sudden in another time, another number, looking forward to what will come. And every year, the impending New Year’s Eve countdown feels to me a lot like death. You see, I am very familiar with death. I am a death doula. Looking death in the face is very much like New Year’s Eve, the person spends so much time reflecting on what has happened and what will happen that they forget they’re still alive. In most cases, there is very little present moment awareness. This is my job, today and all days: to remind people that they are alive, not yesterday and not tomorrow, right now. In working with people on New Year’s Eve or through the process of transitioning into the nonphysical, I find a lot of work must be done around the shadow self. Humans spend their entire lives trying to hide, kill, and deceive their shadow selves into being something they are not. We learn how others want to see us, and we do everything in our power to be just that. We are masters of deception. Getting to know our shadow selves, in a no-holds-barred kind of way is, in my opinion, the only way. When we take
VOLUME 8 :: REBIRTH
time to get to know our shadow selves, when we let her exist WHEN she needs to exist, HOW she needs to exist, and WHERE she needs to exist, a real level of vulnerability seeps out. We strive for vulnerability… so this is the ultimate. So far, vulnerability has been confined to screaming in bedrooms, crying in showers, journaling, solo creating, being in nature… “dealing” with it on our own and then presenting our “normal” selves to the world at large. As a death doula, as someone who has spoken to many people on the brink of leaving this world about integrating the karmic created shadow self into the Whole Self, well this true vulnerable shadow work is not something we can do in private. We can’t, and we shouldn’t. Unpacking our backpack of “negative” characteristics and qualities we have put away because they weren’t acceptable, allowed or good enough for others has to be a full-frontal assault. This acknowledgement of the other side of ourselves deserves to be honored and loved FULLY, not under the assumption that it can be done in one afternoon of mindful attack so that we can go back to the way we are in normal life. You aren’t normal. You have molded yourself into what is societally acceptable, you have shifted and changed your love for yourself so that she fits in, you have decided to be something… and you have become that. But, both you and I know you lay in bed sometimes wishing you could scream to the top of your lungs about your deepest, darkest pains and be accepted and loved BECAUSE of them, not in spite of them. You have my support and my love and my permission to be and do and say what needs to be done and said so that you can become the Whole You. This is how we heal the world: we heal ourselves. We push each other to heal, and in doing so we heal the great Mother Earth.
WORDS :: SHARNA LANGLAIS ART :: MELISSA MCCONNELL
THE EMPATH AND ADDICTION
“I wanted to understand more than when my behaviors become addictive, and beyond what triggered the desire to drink. I wanted to understand the cause of my compulsion and excess, that I had a disease just didn’t do it for me.”
n my work as a Reiki Master, and through my own personal journey of sobriety, I’ve noticed an interesting connection between empaths and addiction. To be
transparent, I’m not a psychologist or addiction specialist; however, when I decided to stop drinking nearly three years ago, I burrowed into literature on the subject. I searched for a reason why I’d found myself so far down a hole, when I’d started out like most people do: simply enjoying a social pastime. I also found most of the literature and methodologies offered a somewhat negative concept of “addicts.” I realized I’d rebelled against seeking sobriety sooner, in part because I rebelled against owning powerlessness. I want to be clear that I’m not criticizing these methodologies. I commend and applaud every single person who has found a path that works in maintaining sobriety. But for myself, I wanted to understand more than when my behaviors become addictive, and beyond what triggered the desire to drink. I wanted to understand the cause of my compulsion and excess, that I had a disease just didn’t do it for me. I learned how trauma played a role, as well as genetics. But when I stumbled on the idea of the “empath” or “highly sensitive person” (HSP), something clicked. According to Dr. Elaine Aron, “the highly sensitive person (HSP) has a sensitive nervous system, is aware of subtleties in his/her surroundings, and is more easily overwhelmed when in a highly stimulating environment.” One of the key connections I’ve found between empaths and addiction is this overstimulation and overwhelm. Because empaths are highly sensitive, our increasingly fastpaced and intense society becomes unbearable quite quickly. One remedy is isolation. But for many, that’s neither convenient nor fulfilling. As a result, many empaths search for a comfortable way to be around people. And any substance (alcohol, drugs, food,
VOLUME 8 :: REBIRTH
relationships, etc.) that helps numb or dull this overwhelm, becomes not only helpful, but sometimes necessary, thereby leading to dependency and eventually addiction. In my experience, this is connected in part to boundary issues. The gift of the empath is to feel what others are feeling, and so empaths become natural, but untrained, “therapists.” Also, they often receive positive reinforcement for their gifts: “Wow! I feel so much better just being around you.” But many empaths haven’t been taught to make the distinction between what’s “your stuff” and what’s “my stuff,” a key function of boundaries. Even once the distinction is made, many still feel compelled to help and/or don’t know how to enforce their boundaries. Substances create a temporary and automatic energetic boundary, they can become a symptomatic treatment, leading to dependency on the substance, coupled with a feeling of powerlessness in locating and addressing the cause. Finally, because empaths and introverts are often misunderstood, they may be increasingly sensitive to judgments by others or have a hard time fitting in. Over a lifetime, this can create a downwardly spiraling self-esteem. Substances don’t judge and, even if only temporarily, can improve self-image and bring empaths outside of themselves, creating an alluring, dangerous and eventually destructive “friend.” I recommend Dr. Judith Orloff’s book Emotional Freedom: Liberate Yourself from Negative Emotions and Transform Your Life to my empath clients, as it helps them selfidentify, as well as learn to negotiate boundaries and social situations. These include finding time to decompress, meditating regularly, honoring one’s needs, and learning to say “no.”
Doula Services Childbirth Education Breatfeeding Support It takes a village ...
BIRTH email@example.com carriagehousebirth.com
WORDS :: REBECCA MCKEEVER ART :: LAUREN NAPOLITANO
TWISTS AND TURNS :: THE LABYRINTH OF CHANGE “As we go deeper and deeper inward, sometimes we think we are getting close to the center, to the goal of Rebirth, only to be turned away again. It can be easy to get distracted, lose your steps, and want to give into despair.”
isualizing life as a journey has always been very helpful for me to see the big picture. One day I am in a dark ravine, other times on a sunny mountaintop. It is
rare to be able to see what lies ahead accurately, but things behind me only seem to become clearer. Yet there are times when life is just too confusing to see where I am on my path… I get totally lost. Can’t see behind, can’t see ahead, stuck in the moment and full of uncertainties. That’s when I know I am in the labyrinth. It’s not like the movie, where you can get lost in a maze. This is a traditional labyrinth, meaning there is only one path that winds back and forth and back again, and eventually takes you to the center. Traditional labyrinths can be found in indigenous cultures all around the world, and have been with humanity for over 4000 years. There is a labyrinth in the park near my home and for the past year and a half, I have been regularly walking this labyrinth as a meditation. At first, walking the labyrinth was just fun. It took awhile before I started having realizations from this practice. If you are interested in trying this form of meditation, give it some time and keep at it. If there is no walking labyrinth available to you, you can make one with paint or stones. You can also put a small one on a piece of paper or object, and trace it with your finger and your mind. This complex path of the labyrinth reminds us of times of great change and deep work: a healing journey, a hero’s quest, the adventure of becoming a mother, and the bigger journey of life itself. It takes us on a path full of twists and surprises. Labyrinth practice will often bring forth a funny narrative in me, “Oh this way now? Darn I thought I was almost there. Whoa I am getting dizzy!” As we go deeper and deeper inward, sometimes we think we are getting close to the center, to the goal of Rebirth, only to
VOLUME 8 :: REBIRTH
be turned away again. It can be easy to get distracted, lose your steps, and want to give into despair. These times in life are all too evident. Even when we get past them, they can present themselves to us again in our dreams. When you are dreaming about a hard time in your past, visualize that you are revisiting that place in your labyrinth. If it is a repetitive dream then something from that moment still needs to be processed. Thankfully we have tools to help us when we are stuck in those moments, in waking life or in dreams. As long as we are living, we always have our breath. Tune into your breath to keep you calm and recenter yourself. Ask yourself what is true? Is it true in that moment only? Do you carry scars from a former truth that doesn’t apply any longer? Call on star beings, spirits of the air, and high-flying birds to help you see the bigger picture, to see the labyrinth from above. Often they can give you just the encouragement you need to make it around the next bend. If you don’t give up but hold your mind and keep on walking, no matter what obstacles you face, eventually you’ll wind yourself all the way to the center. In the center it all becomes clear: the heart of the matter. After facing your fears and holding space for your own journey, you’ve made it. Celebrate! Sit or lie in the stillness of the Center, relish this accomplishment. Take it all in, and be reborn in the center of the mandala. It feels so good to reconnect to your own deepest core this way. Wisdom that comes to us in the center of the labyrinth may not be the kind we can put into words. That is why the labyrinth is a symbol, and not a paragraph. Symbols give us truth in a different way. Let it sink into your cells, and don’t feel like you need to define it. Stay in the center as long as you like. You’ll know when you are ready to move on again. Then comes the tricky part no one likes to talk about, getting back out. One simply cannot walk out from the moment of Rebirth in a straight, easy line. The way back out is the same way you took in, step-by-step, twist and turn. Even though you have taken this path before, now it all seems different. Maybe your steps are more patient, your heart more full of trust. You know the twists and turns will get you somewhere, even when it looks like you are just lost, or maybe the way back out is just as hard. In the labyrinth of becoming a Mother, it takes 9 months and labor to get to the center: the birth of your child, welcoming a new being into the world, and into your arms. Yet sometimes it takes a lot longer than 9 months to get back out of this transition. To become fully embodied in your new role is difficult when that role is constantly changing as your child evolves each day. That’s why we need to know it is okay to ask for help, and to use our tools: our breath to calm us, identifying what is true, and trying to get a visual from above, remembering the bigger picture versus what is only temporary. Even though the labyrinth of change is difficult, it is a worthy endeavor!
TWISTS AND TURNS
When you are brave and patient enough to complete the whole journey, the healing path within, your rebirth in the center, and the integrating walk back out, step by step, breath by breathâ€Ś You may then be given the greatest gift of all, the remembrance that the path is the goal.
WORDS :: ALEXANDRA DERBY ART :: ANNABEL LAURA HUISMAN
CHANGE THE DREAM
“We are shaping own ‘dream’ in every choice we make and how we choose to experience life; through despair or hope, through conf lict or peace, through suffering and disempowerment or through compassion and positive action.”
was 12 weeks pregnant and on holiday
shifted that morning. I understood that
in Italy. It was beautiful. The view out
I had agency, that I was affecting what
from the villa looked down upon rolling
I was experiencing in this life, and in
Tuscan hills, fresh herbs surrounded me
my body. It was not all that I was, and
and the nourishing sun shone down upon
I could choose how I wanted to live
me and my baby growing inside me. My
this experience. I could ‘change the
husband had to return to work in America
dream’. Up until this point in my life I had
and I was staying on an extra week to see
been living very much as if the outside
my UK family who I hardly ever saw since
world (and by that I mean my close
moving to NY. But something was not
relationships, my education, my cultural
right; I felt funny, not just a cold but a
norms, the structures we have set up as a
deep fatigue over my whole body. My
society) had a hold over me completely. I
sister had been ill and I feared I had
was at the mercy of something outside of
caught something. The next few days
me that was affecting how I experienced
I stayed in bed, feverish and delirious.
my life. My earliest memory of this was of
One day I woke up and had one of those
my parents’ response to me telling them
profound, deep moments of realization,
one of my epic dreams as a child ‘Don’t
the kind monks in mountain ashrams
worry, it was only a dream, it wasn’t real’.
devote their lives to experiencing. I woke
Tied up in that statement was the start
up as if new-born and looked around me
of me giving my power away to others
and realized I was in a dream.
at a very young age, believing that my experience wasn’t ‘real’ and therefore
This is the dream.
not valid. But I never stopped dreaming.
Something inside me at a cellular level
Throughout my life I have always been
VOLUME 8 :: REBIRTH
able to remember my dreams. I felt that
gave me tools in which to approach my
I lived two lives, one in the daytime and
dreams as coded letters to myself from
one at night. And sometimes the two
another perspective of myself. And I
worlds would collide. I can remember
started to understand their language
the look on the faces of my family at the
as Soul language, it spoke in symbols
breakfast table one morning as a young
and metaphor and analogy, and I could
teenager when I recounted how I had
translate it. Over the past nine years
dreamt of someone called Zara Philips
I have written down my dreams every
(who I did not know was a real person at
morning. I have over forty dream journals
the time) in a car that crashed. A wave of
filled with information that is personal to
shock went around the table as someone
me and also information that I am waiting
passed me the newspaper that morning
to find out what it is showing me.
with a photo splashed on the front page of the royal family member, Zara Philips,
The other night I got to find out what a
whose arm was broken in a car crash.
dream from 2007 was showing me. I went to a lecture presentation by Graham
This kept happening. My family put it
Hancock for his new book ‘Magicians
down to me being ‘a bit weird’ and not
of the Gods’. I had not read any of his
knowing how to really categorize my
previous books but was aware of his
experience, they just laughed it off as one
work. I have an MPhil in Archaeology
of those things that made me ‘quirky’.
from Cambridge University and within
But that’s not what was happening. I
institutions like that his work was ridiculed
was being shown in my dream state our
but I always kept quiet, knowing that my
interconnectedness, our ability to access
experience of the dream world would
information that in our day-to-day lives
also be considered ridiculous if shared
we had no way of knowing. I was starting
at that time. I was carrying a memory
to understand at a fundamental level how
of that judgment as I went into the talk.
our perception of reality was very limited
As the evening progressed I was having
and there were many levels which we
full on healing symptoms. My body kept
could experience. I was being initiated
getting full chills and ‘truth bumps’ and
into collective consciousness, not just of
I was spontaneously weeping without
humanity, but of life.
being aware of why I was crying. Then he spoke of how evidence suggests that
I went through most of my twenties
a giant comet hitting North America
never talking about this to anyone and
around 12,800 BP caused geological
I became severely depressed. Finally
changes including the creation of bodies
reaching out for help I met my dear
of water like the Finger Lakes in NY, in
friend Penny, then an analyst with a
the space of a single afternoon. I felt my
strong background in Jungian analysis,
whole body turn to ice as I remembered
and for the first time someone honored
my dream from all those years ago.
my dreams as being very important. She
CHANGE THE DREAM
In the dream I was walking with a tribe
life; through despair or hope, through
group that I was part of and we had set
conflict or peace, through suffering and
up camp on a ridge when some huge
disempowerment or through compassion
vibration in the Earth caused us all to
and positive action.
turn and look. A wall of water rose over a sheer rock ravine and water cascaded
Manari Ushigua of the Sapara Nation
into the ravine creating lakes far off in
of the Ecuadorian Amazon Rainforest
the distance, it was monumental. Upon
waking I was deeply shaken by the dream
Pachamama Alliance. He highlighted
and had a clear image in my mind of the
the plight of his people, his culture
shape of the lakes. I went online and
and the Rainforest itself as being near
searched google maps and realized it was
destruction due to the creation of a
the Finger Lakes. Now here I was, sitting
Chinese oil company. He states “we
in a lecture room, with a man suggesting
want to continue our ancestral way of life
that our human civilization was far more
and connection to our dreams and the
ancient than we currently date and was
spirit world”. Stating that he connection
devastated by a comet impact 12,800 BP.
to their dreams is a fundamental part of
The ancients were highlighting THIS time
their existence. Instead of oil exploitation
as being very important through coded
Manari wants to increase tourism to share
imagery at sites such as Gobekli Tepe,
his culture’s wisdom with others. He
through Soul language, dream language,
calls on us all to commit to “protecting
symbols and metaphor. I knew what he
the Rainforest at this critical time for
was saying was true because within my
All Life.” Our entire planet depends
body I held the memory of watching it
on the Rainforest of his people. He is
right. The Amazon Rainforests are the
lungs of our planet. The panacea of the We are at that same level of consciousness
health troubles of our planet, as most
now as a species. We have technology
pharmaceutical companies know. What
that allows us to communicate across the
is his solution? Calling on our alliance, on
globe in now time. We have advanced
our connection, and uniting all peoples
civilization that allows us to travel into
to protect the forest, “with your support
space and explore other planets. But
and help from the forest spirits we will
most people are still living as if they
change the dream and create a new
have no impact on this dream, this life
future for all of humanity”.
we are all living on Planet Earth with so many other humans and life forms, as if
We will change the dream and UNITE.
their life choices don’t make a difference. That is wrong. Each of us is a powerful co-creator with Life. We are shaping our own ‘dream’ in every choice we make and how we choose to experience
WORDS :: HASNAA AT-TAUHIDI ART :: JUSTICE WOLF
HEALING THE INNER CHILD
“We. . . have internalized messages that did not speak to our true nature as a sacred, beautiful, holy child of the Divine Source who deserves love unconditionally. All of these experiences further to deepen the personality split that creates the Shadow.”
ur feelings and emotions matter far more than we ever imagined. Much of our society has been taught that emotions are something we need to suppress or
to control. However, the latest research says quite different. We are learning that on a quantum level, our emotions are a direct indicator of the vibration that we are offering to the Universe. Long before our thoughts manifest into physical reality (where we are able to visibly see what we are attracting) the emotions indicated physically in our body can tune us into exactly what signals we are sending out. This serves as an emotional guidance system which will allow us to learn more about our own individual and true divine nature. It also gives us much deeper insight into our lives, beyond the lies that we tell ourselves about what is right and wrong, and all of our personal preferences. Once we learn to recognize the sensations associated with various emotions we will begin to receive a clearer understanding of our true and authentic feelings. Feelings about our job, where we live, our friends and family… everything, even down to the foods we eat. These preferences are coming directly from our eternal self rather than filtered through the logic of the egoic mind. The key to understanding emotions is to accept them as they are. Contrary to what we have been taught, they are a powerful ally on the path to living an authentic life from an enlightened perspective. They provide us with instant and clear feedback about our state of being, whether we are in alignment with our Higher Self or if we are in a state of resistance to All That Is. For now it’s important to understand the connection to the practice of Shadow Work and our emotions. Many of us are extremely emotional and inclined to “sense” our way through life. To some it sounds strange, because they believe that “truth” isn’t a feeling, but rather a mental understanding. However, to many of us, it IS a feeling.
VOLUME 8 :: REBIRTH
In fact, almost all things in the lives of empaths and highly sensitive people, are feelings (or emotions) rather than intellectual or practical processes or constructs. I always have said I recognize truth by how it feels. So the question we are all being asked is; Can we balance getting our own needs met within the needs of everything and everyone else? This is a perfect segue into inner child work. Many of us become deeply triggered in our lives by unhealed experiences from childhood, experiences where we did not get our needs met. We learned to silently suffer and were taught in many ways that we werenâ€™t deserving of the things we wanted; whether it be love, affection, attention or simple validation. When we are triggered into the fight or flight response based on a perceived fear or threat of being hurt, our inner child becomes activated. This can often be the case when we have not learned healthy ways to express our needs. We move deep into our unconscious where core beliefs such as unworthiness, shame and abandonment issues take over our awareness. Many of us may have learned that love was conditional and based on behaving and acting in certain â€œpreferredâ€? ways. We may have learned that love is not safe. Often we have been taught that our emotions were simply invalid. We very well may have internalized messages that did not speak to our true nature as a sacred, beautiful, holy child of the Divine Source who deserves love unconditionally. All of these experiences further to deepen the personality split that creates the Shadow. This healing process of recognizing that we all still possess an inner child who is looking for our needs to be met is deeply transformational work. For myself as a holistic practitioner, as well as many healers that I know, inner-child work has created some of the most profound shifts into well-being and wholeness. A profound relationship develops between you, as the nurturer, and your own inner child who is still seeking a safe place to be heard and receive unconditional love. You realize that you do not need to seek the support and validation from those who may have caused you pain as a child; whether it be your parents, family, or close relatives, but that you can absolutely give it to yourself. It is empowering to understand that you can truly create that healing within yourself by turning inward, and utilizing the new level of understanding that you now have as an adult.
The following are key steps that can be utilized to begin this journey. DEVELOPING TRUST For your wounded inner child to come out of hiding, he/she must be able to trust that you will be there unconditionally. Your inner child needs a supportive and loving space in order to be heard. An opportunity without the fear of being shamed in order to
HEALING THE INNER CHILD
validate his/her abandonment, rejection, neglect, abuse, and enmeshment. These are the first essential elements in this work. VALIDATION If you’re still inclined to minimize and/or rationalize the ways in which you were shamed, ignored, or abandoned by your parents or others, you need to now accept the fact that these things truly wounded your soul. Understanding that the people who wrong us aren’t always bad, and likely have just been wounded themselves. Continuing the cycles that they themselves were taught, and doing the very best that they knew how given their experiences. ANGER It’s okay to be angry, even if what was done to you was unintentional. In fact many would argue that from a place of being dis-empowered, getting angry is actually a sign of taking your power back. I know my parents did the best that two wounded adult (children) could do. But I’m also aware that I was deeply wounded spiritually and that its had consequences for me. What that means is that I hold us all responsible for breaking the cycle of dysfunction. SADNESS After anger comes hurt and sadness. If we were victimized, we must grieve that betrayal. We must also grieve what might’ve been, our dreams and aspirations. We must grieve our unfulfilled developmental needs. In grieving childhood abandonment, you must help your wounded inner child see that there was nothing he/she should have done differently. This helps to address the self-blame that may still be carried, and unconsciously creating a strong vibrational point of attraction. These deep core feelings of self-blame often create shame. When we feel shame we cover up our true self. Various parts of our personality become suppressed and abandoned. We in turn ended up abusing ourselves in many of the same ways that we were taught abuse by others. We also came to identify with a false self, while the true self remained alone and isolated. Staying with this last layer of painful feelings is the hardest part of the grief process. “The only way out is through,” as we say in the healing arts. As we embrace these feelings, we come out the other side. We encounter the ‘self’ that’s been in hiding from others, as well as from ourselves.
The truth is you are more powerful than you have ever been shown. The truth of who you are is something that is beyond many peoples current comprehension. Now is the time to tune back into your emotions. They are the key to pointing you in the direction of manifesting successfully in every aspect of life. Your emotions are always the indicator of what you are offering vibrationally. Once you have the opportunity to
VOLUME 8 :: REBIRTH
experience the vibration of who you really are and tune yourself accordingly, no other feeling will quite measure up. We incarnated here to enjoy the flow of that part of us that is eternal. Tune yourself to the vibration of the center of your being and live a life filled with ease and joy. We think loving someone else is the highest emotional experience there is, only because experiencing a true unconditional love of our divine self is so rare. But this deep self-love is truly why we came here, it is our birthright. Inner child and shadow work serve to remove the emotional blocks that prevent the light and love of Source energy to flow though us, and this is why the work is so profound.
FIND OUR MONTHLY PODCASTS
VOLUME 8 :: REBIRTH
The Shadow, Rebirth and Pluto
Unable to Return to the Cocoon
WORDS :: GEORGIANA JOHNSON ART :: MADISON PERRINS
THE SHADOW, REBIRTH AND PLUTO
e all have a shadow. We all have parts of ourselves we hide and suppress so we can face the world in our ideal way. In some cases, the shadow is so
unconscious, so deep, that the individual isn’t even aware of what they’re suppressing. Carl Jung said that “everyone carries a shadow, and the less it is embodied in the individual’s conscious life, the blacker and denser it is.” Romancing the shadow is a necessary art form for wholeness, and for us to examine the shadow from an astrological perspective we can look to Pluto. Pluto is the dark night of the soul. He moves purposefully through our charts in a way no other planet does. He is inescapable, and in the same way, we cannot escape our shadow no matter how hard we try. Our hidden, unconscious selves find their way back to us via fears, nightmares, addictions, self-limiting beliefs, self-hatred, destructive people and habits. The list is endless. When Pluto meets a planet or angle in a birth chart by conjunction, square or opposition, there can be a symbolic death and a descent into the underworld where the individual must then journey through their shadow. The underworld is an unforgiving sweet spot of evolutionary energy that is all encompassing and transformative at the least. In our journey through the underworld we are reduced to our core essence. We will lose what is no longer relevant to us in order to create space for the new. We will meet our sharpest edge. We will be forced to access our cosmic tool kit, in order to repair what is broken. It is an earnest struggle and demands much courage. Symbolic death is an initiation. Something huge and out of our hands, it can be something cruel. Once we cross the threshold of initiation we are in the forest, grasping, finding our way through the dark. Pluto is a pressure cooker and during this journey we are within an alchemical power. The process is so subtle and gradual we may not be able to put our finger on the message, however the experience will prove to have long-term value; we emerge from our darkness changed. ‘Are you willing to be sponged out, erased, canceled, made nothing?
VOLUME 8 :: REBIRTH
Are you willing to be made nothing, dipped into oblivion? If not, you will never really change.’ - D.H. Lawrence When Pluto meets a planet or angle by favorable aspect such as trine or sextile, and even conjunction depending on the chart, the energy of Pluto flows more harmoniously. The positive gifts of Pluto are channeled and manifest in gorgeous ways. We have access to an immense amount of power within ourselves. Self-belief is huge. Our power of concentration is huge. Our determination is huge. Our ability to get through obstacles is huge. Our ability to transform and regenerate is like never before. Our access to sexuality is at an all time high. It’s a time in life where we soar, feel invincible and gain a momentum we have never known. Pluto wants us to have this power, particularly if we’re involved in evolutionary pursuits with good intentions. Whether Pluto comes to us with his challenges or his gifts, the power he brings is immense for the nervous system to take on. During our Pluto transits, we need to do what we can to support our body so we can keep going and integrate what we’re learning. If we don’t integrate our Pluto experiences then the alchemy won’t be as transformative. If we’re born with Pluto weighing in heavily in our natal chart, then this will be a lifelong practice. Learning to use power to heal rather than to destroy is the karmic responsibility of these souls. We can integrate in many different ways but it essentially comes down to self-care and enquiry. This is a time to ask yourself if you need to hire a therapist, a body worker of your taste, or a healer of any kind. Anyone who can help you process this information into your whole being. Create your support system, don’t rely on all your friends to step up, not everyone will understand or have the patience for the intensity of these times, and that is OK. It is also a time to dedicate yourself to daily self-care rituals at home such as a healthy diet, early nights, baths, body massages, meditation, yoga, and gratitude rituals. Singing, dancing, drama classes, journaling, morning pages, being in nature. Anything that brings you comfort and makes you feel supported. Keep showing up, and see if a message emerges. Once Pluto has done his work, which usually takes around 2 years, he leaves a parting gift, the Phoenix out of the ashes. By this time I hope we can recognize that pain and suffering is the ash and compost from which beautiful, never-before-seen magnificence sprouts forth. Hopefully by now we can have deep reverence and gratitude for our experiences, embrace our shadow and go forward with powerful new wisdom. This is the place of rebirth, and many people re-enter the world as wounded healers, integrating what they’ve learned into their life’s work. This is the next chapter of the journey.
red postpartum postpartum doula services services for families for families Seattle in and Seattle andand surrounding surround Tailoreddoula postpartum doula services for families inin Seattle surrounding areas. d postpartum doula services for families in Seattle and surroundin Building confidence and providing extra support in the fourth trimester. Building ding confidence confidence andand providing providing extra extra support support in the in the fourth fourth trimeste trim ilding confidence and providing extra support in the fourth trimes ↠ wwww.nurturedpostpartum.com ↠ww.nurturedpostpartum.com www.nurturedpostpartum.com ↞ ↞ ↠ www.nurturedpostpartum.com ↞
WORDS :: NICOLE OLMSTED ART :: SILLE LUND
UNABLE TO RETURN TO THE COCOON
“Looking at a chart is like looking at a dream” - Steven Forrest, Evolutionary Astrologer.
strology was amongst the many tools used in our ancestral liberation, where we studied the science of becoming human beings in a cosmic universe. Every
individual’s chart is a complex design of 12 signs of every human’s basic personality type and 12 houses for our basic psychological needs. Astrology looks at three aspects of the zodiac: the Signs, Houses and Planets. There are seven basic Planets, which are the Sun, Moon, Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn. The three “legs” of Astrology stand on our Sun, Moon and Ascendant. These can be found by looking at their astrological glyph in the corresponding house. Each sign shows the 12 aspects of an individual’s soul evolution. Beginning with Aries, the Cardinal fire of expression, then Taurus, the Fixed earth energy of the builder and Gemini, the Mutable air of
communication. Cancer is the Cardinal water of life force. Leo is the Fixed fire of our ambitions, Virgo, the Mutable earth of how we serve and Libra the Cardinal air of experiencing the world. Scorpio is the Fixed water of rebirth, Sagittarius, the Mutable fire of living our potential, and Capricorn, the Cardinal earth that follows through with our soul task. Lastly, Aquarius, the Fixed air that merges with the collective consciousness and Pisces, the Mutable air that is the return to the self of creation. By looking where these signs live in the houses of the zodiac we can begin to translate the layers of the self, our strengths and parts that we have come to evolve. The houses are the 12 psychological explorations of the human psyche and located in the center of the chart, the inner world of the self. The First House, is where we have our personal experiences, early childhood, environment, power of personal projection and one’s relationship to the self. The Second House shows how we deal with money, security, personal wealth, available resources and self-awareness. The Third House is about education, communication, the rational mind and the day to day tasks.
VOLUME 8 :: REBIRTH
The Fourth House shows how we are with home, the place of birth and death, foundations, resource and renewal. The Fifth House is associated with children, creative release, impulses of the heart, humor, and risk. The Sixth House deals with health, services, routine work, labor, work on self and personal problems. The Seventh House is associated with partnerships, contracts, shadow self and all forms of inter relationship. The Eighth House is about death and resurrection, debts, legacies, unavoidable responsibilities to others and other people’s resources. The Ninth House is traditionally associated with long journeys, higher education, the abstract mind, philosophy, religion, public relations, and all undertakings which broaden life perspectives. The Tenth House deals with authority, reputation and place of honor. The Eleventh House is about your friends, hopes, wishes, humanitarian activities, goals and all forms of group social life. The Twelfth House is associated with karma, fate, secret enemies, places of confinement, the afterworld, charity and help from unknown sources. Now when you begin to explore the Shadow you can look towards the planet Pluto. Pluto is the planet of destruction, the place where you truly transform. Within all transformation, you are faced with dealing your biggest debt. It is through the karmic rebalancing of what only our DNA is conscious of and what perils our deepest consciousness that becomes our fate. With Pluto, you are faced with the parts of yourself that needs to be liberated from old fear and habits of past lives. As the Shadow is the keeper of the light, then Pluto is the polarity of the light that pulls on what draws to your essential gifts of self. Pluto symbolizes the power and movement of life force and is both life and death. It has been represented by the Goddess as a spider, spinning the universe into creation. It is the constant pressure from the Wheel of Life to return home to the whole self, which is the unification of shadow and light. How you transform through this planet leads to your fate in this lifetime and essentially your rebirth. To study your Pluto, look at the astrological glyph naturally related to the house and sign which your Pluto is in, then determine the polarity point, which is the opposite sign and house of your own natal Pluto. For example, Pluto in Scorpio in the ninth house has its polarity point as Taurus in the third house. Saturn however, is where we come into our rebirth. Saturn is the taskmaster that is able to carry forth the transformation into actual life. Also known as the keeper of time and how we relate to our inner world, Saturn’s role is to build a sense of identity which is aware and responsive to the situations and issues foundational to the well-being of your world. The deeper purpose of Saturn is to build what has lasting value and brings the personality to face its own mortality. Saturn represents career, structure and selfdiscipline. In a natal chart, the placement of Saturn describes the goal of your life’s work, along with instructions on how to go about achieving it, so in essence, how we rebirth in this lifetime. Saturn travels the whole zodiac every 29 years and ends by
UNABLE TO RETURN TO THE COCOON
by returning to where it was when you were born. This transit is called Saturn Return where our life is illuminated by who we are not and how far off the cosmic path we have fallen. This is the age where the big life decisions happen and is seen at the starting point to a new life you must choose. Saturn returns again at 58, for the years to integrate what you have experienced and how you serve the greater purpose. Pluto dances with our shadow and spins it into a transformative web while Saturn gives us the tasks to actualize our fate. As a soul, you chose your own astrological imprint to come and experience in this realm and body in order to clear karmic situations and to evolve. This imprint lives in every cell of our being; we are literally breathing in our own solar systems and breathing out the stardust of our memories. The gift of understanding your astrological placement in the divine order of the cosmos helps you explore the great mystery of life. It gives you the tools to understand yourself and others and how to become your own ideal being. Pluto is the destructor of the cocoon, which enables us to return back to our old selves, while Saturn gives us wings to fly into our new consciousness. Learning that there is no returning back to where we came from and this evolution of self makes us choose which direction to fly home.
VOLUME 8 :: REBIRTH
A Mother's Journey to My Better Self
Your Future Self, Your Spiritual Midwife
WORDS :: EMILY GREY BERMAN PHOTOGRAPHY :: ALISON BERNIER
A MOTHER'S JOURNEY TO MY BETTER SELF: RAISING A CHILD WITH AUTISM “W hen I ref lect back on how I got to a place of desperation and suffering, I believe that much of my misery was rooted in my perceived inability to make thoughtful, empowered and meaningful choices in my life ...” THE VISION
always wanted to be a mother. I had this vision of raising a bunch of kids with my amazing husband; sharing adventures, camping, taking road trips, going to music
festivals, enjoying game nights, and simply sharing everything I loved. I wouldn’t care what my kids did when they grew up. All that mattered to me was that they would be happy and independent. I pictured each of my children to be a better version of myself, and it wasn’t until a few years ago that I realized I was the one that had to become the better version of myself. When my son was eleven months old, I found out I was pregnant with a girl. She was going to be my little sidekick, the one I molded to become an independent woman. She was the child that would give her brother the true sibling experience I wanted him to have. THE DESCENT From the start, Leah was a very fussy baby who hardly slept and cried almost all the time. The only time I recall her being calm was when I nursed her. I remember early on, my husband commented that Leah would not look at him. I wasn’t worried, and thought nothing of his comments until much later. At the age of six months, when we attempted to feed Leah rice cereal mixed with breast milk, she gagged and pushed the food away with her tongue. For the next six months, we attempted to feed her different types of baby food, but she would gag,
VOLUME 8 :: REBIRTH
vomit, scream, cry, and push it away. I felt something was off, but our pediatrician was not yet concerned. I had a decade-long career as a special education teacher prior to having children, so I knew how to access resources. At one years old, Leah began occupational therapy for feeding. She finally began to crawl at an age where many kids are starting to walk. I do not believe that I was consciously in denial about Leah’s delays. Despite my training with school age children, it was honestly not even on my radar that I would have a child with developmental delays or any kind of special needs. This changed over the next several months, as each day brought new struggles. Feeding Leah became a desperate daily act, and occupational therapy was not helping. She completely stopped responding to her name, all eye contact ceased, and she stopped saying the few words that she did have. My concerns and intuition were confirmed when the first of many developmental experts came to our home to evaluate Leah and diagnosed her with significant developmental delays. Meanwhile, I was already pregnant with my third child, a girl. Despite my professional training and experience, I was unprepared for what was to come. I began to have a constant sinking feeling from my throat to the pit of my stomach. I had worked with many children with Autism, but the youngest were already five years old, so I had no idea what Autism looked like in a baby or toddler. I went online and spent many nights frantically researching early childhood Autism. It suddenly struck me. My daughter was Autistic. THE BOTTOM As abruptly as I realized that Leah had Autism, I collapsed into devastation and grief. The only other time that I had experienced this depth of grief and heartache was when my younger brother died in a tragic accident several years earlier. For months I cried all the time, I stopped socializing. I was nauseous and couldn’t sleep. After Leah was formally diagnosed with Autism, my home no longer felt like my own. A variety of therapists, supervisors, trainees, and social workers visited our home almost daily. We needed help. She needed help, and it took several years to adjust to constantly having outside people in my space. Thankfully, many of these outside people became part of our strongest support system. Leah’s behaviors continued to get worse. A typical day involved hours and hours of her screaming, crying, gagging, and injuring herself. She became extremely sensitive to soft objects, and would vomit at the sight of a stuffed animal, blanket or carpet. I felt helpless. I was unable to provide her comfort, like I could for my other children, and that broke my heart. The only way that I could get her to eat, was to push her in the stroller and stop every so often to coax a single bite of baby food into her. Because she was calmer in motion, we used to drive her around for hours a day.
I was in a dark, heavy, seemingly impossible place, in which I truly believed it would be easier to grieve the loss of her, than to raise her. I had tremendous guilt around these thoughts. I was a peaceful, loving, warmhearted, earth mama; yet, I actually felt contempt towards my daughter. She was miserable, and miserable to be around, and was ruining the life I always dreamed for my family. I would literally wake up in the morning with my heart pounding. At times, the anxiety manifested into panic attacks. I dreaded every day. Even when I wasnâ€™t with Leah, I was miserable. From that desperate place, I finally got to the point where I realized that I could not change my daughter, so I had to work on myself. I began to seek outward so that I could heal inward. THE REBIRTH As I started my journey into healing and rebirth, from mother, to mother of a child with special needs, I attended a meditation class for parents. One insight that the leader shared was that our kids are our zen masters. Something clicked for me in that moment. Leah was my zen master. She woke me up when I started to become unconscious. She reminded me that as I faced her massive behaviors and challenges, I needed to stay present, conscious, and calm. As a result, I began a practice where the louder and more severe her behaviors got the calmer and quieter I got. I stayed
VOLUME 8 :: REBIRTH
present to support her, but no longer reacted or mirrored her. I learned to wait. Those rough moments always passed. Even if it took more than an hour, it would pass, and I would get maybe ten minutes of relief before the next rough wave began. Again, it would pass. I learned to surrender to what was, and to let go of the circumstances which I could not control. I began mindfulness meditation therapy, and started a daily meditation practice. I joined a couple of different sister circles, and found comfort with my “tribe.” I wish I could name the one magical thing that helped me finally get to the point where I could get back on track and live the life I always knew I deserved—one that was happy and fulfilled. When I reflect back on how I got to a place of desperation and suffering, I believe that much of my misery was rooted in my perceived inability to make thoughtful, empowered and meaningful choices in my life---choices about my thoughts, my attitude, my perspective, and my behavior. It wasn’t easy, but I’ve become more conscious of my ability and freedom to make choices and explore perspective that ultimately result in a life filled with much more possibility, optimism and hope. Despite the fact that I experience the challenges of motherhood with a child with Autism every day, I am now happier and more fulfilled than I have ever been! I have also realized that it is my true passion and purpose to help others to live their best lives, which led me to become a personal empowerment coach! The first significant shift was in me, but over time, Leah also experienced a positive shift. Her meltdowns became shorter, I was more often able to comfort or distract her, she began to vomit less and eat new foods. She developed through her own growth and rebirth into a much more joyful child. One of her strengths now, is eye contact. When she looks in my eyes, it’s a feeling I have never had with another human being. It’s as if her soul sees my soul. THE NOW Motherhood, as I have experienced it, is not what I had pictured it to be. I have let go of that story, and have come to a place of acceptance for where my life is now. Leah is almost seven, and is completely non-verbal. She is still in diapers at an age where many kids are learning to tie their shoes and memorize multiplication facts. She sleeps in a camping tent for safety, with a mattress on the floor, and is awake for about two to three hours, most nights. I choose to step away and let other people work with her and I’m okay with not trying to do it all myself. We have every battery operated light-up cause-and-effect plastic toy. I used to despise these toys, and even judge other parents for using them, but Leah loves them and responds to them. While many parents are limiting electronics, we are teaching and encouraging her to use the iPad for communication and learning. We still don’t all sit together for family dinners, and
A MOTHER'S JOURNEY TO MY BETTER SELF
that’s just the way it is in our family for now. My husband and I often travel or go on outings with our other children separately, or else we have to hire someone to watch Leah. She is not yet in a place where we can travel or go to most parties or restaurants together. As much as I do not like to anticipate the future, I have come to terms with the idea that Leah may be dependent on us for the rest of our lives. And I am content with all of this. THE GIFTS As I have shifted my perspective and come to a place of happiness and contentment, I am truly able to identify and appreciate the gifts of raising a child with Autism. Seven gifts of raising a child with significant special needs: • The gift of experiencing true FREEDOM by LETTING GO of expectations and completely accepting what is real. • The gift that being her mom is part of MY STORY. As much as I would never have wished for my daughter to have Autism, raising her is a significant piece of my life story, which has strongly impacted who I am today and what I have to offer to the world. • The gift of the Autism/special needs COMMUNITY. There is so much love, support, and understanding in this diverse group of people. • The gift of CELEBRATING the littlest things (like the first time Leah ate a piece of chocolate and instead of gagging, she reached for more. Or the time when I took her for a haircut and she sat in the chair for ten minutes and actually got a haircut. Or when she started nodding yes and no). • The gift of CHOICE. I have choice in loving my life and living my life, or allowing grief, stress and anxiety to cloud my every moment. I choose to embrace life to the fullest, to experience joy, and to be open to infinite possibilities. • The gift of SIMPLICITY in a child with so much complexity. Leah may never know greed, vanity or jealousy. She lives her life simply, driven by emotion. • The gift of her SPIRIT. Witnessing Leah’s pure full body uninhibited JOY, is one of the most beautiful energies I have ever known. Because of the lessons I learned raising a child with Autism; I truly believe that I am now happier than I have ever been. Autism altered my path in ways much deeper than I may have ever found on my own.
WORDS :: MEGHAN COLEMAN ART :: GIULIANA NAPOLI
“The inner patriarch I discovered in this relationship has a tricky voice but it is the same one that kept me from trusting my feminine wisdom, my emotional guidance system, and my right to be the keeper of my own temple.”
t has always been a struggle to comprehend myself, as turning my attention towards one perception, thought or feeling, only leads to a thousand more, ricocheting
off one another like a row of holographic dominoes. It isn’t easy to sit in the waters of feminine wisdom with all our collective wounds, to hold space for what wants to be, to find… then pause, and then act from it. It may not be easy, but there is such strength in learning to feel and contain the ebbs and flows, the waves that rush in and out, whispering wisdom into our souls. It is our birthright as women to tap into these realms, and we must. Because to allow the over-active mind to divert our attention from what we feel also dims our intuition to a barely audible whisper, stripping us of our power. Giving myself permission to feel how I feel and say no to what doesn’t serve me is something I’m just beginning to practice daily. I may seem irrational, inconsistent or sometimes boring, but it is worth every awkward moment to uphold the integrity of my process. It took me being completely broken open to prioritize my journey and trust in my own inner guidance. It took a relationship that destroyed every last sliver of my ego’s control and left me breathless as the bottom of a well, gasping for some sliver of faith that I was unable to feel. I had never been so in love and determined to make something work. I’d also never been so hurt and depleted. His wounds lined up with mine, and we scraped our scabs straight to the bone… but if it wasn’t for him acting as a mirror in my life, I would have no idea how many blind spots I carried. I was already an independent and well-traveled teacher, writer and yogi when we met, but our steps together took on more twists and turns than I could have ever fathomed. I found plant medicine in the jungles of Peru, off grid living in the wilds of Northern
VOLUME 8 :: REBIRTH
California, and sacred archaeological sites in the hills of England. He shaped me, but he also shattered me. Alongside the spirited discussions, gypsy living and bliss-filled nights, were obsessions, jealousy, and verbal and emotional abuse that crossed a few times too many into the physical realms. The friends I used to lend my ears, advice and love to, became the ones picking me up off the floor, sometimes literally, so many more times than was sane. There is no doubt the relationship was toxic, and I could have left at any time, but something kept me locked in the cycle. I had literally dreamed this person into my life, and I couldn’t let go of the hope of what ‘could be’ until I had no choice, because he left me. When it was all said and done, I weighed ninety pounds, was too exhausted to eat, too anxious to sleep, and no longer had any concept of who I’d become. A shaman friend told me recently that my biggest shadow is my own light. She said “you don’t even realize what an angel you are” and I turned my head, biting back tears of shame. It struck that same nerve inside me that flinches when someone gives me a compliment. The one that says your voice is too shaky. Your needs are too great. Your tears are too loud. You are not worthy of love unless someone really needs you. You are not enough unless you give to anyone who asks for it. The one that said far too many times, “you deserved it.” This was the voice of my inner patriarch, and it was mirrored back to me by my lover, showing all my deepest insecurities and fears. The words he spat at me with contempt were not only a reflection of his relationship to himself, but a reflection of my own inner relationship and all the demons that kept me chained. He showed me how dependent my self-worth was on things outside of me. He showed me I was giving my energy from a place of guilt, not love, which was exactly why I grew so depleted. He mirrored my inability to create boundaries, as I got so washed in his reality I couldn’t even see my own. The paradox and depth of my feeling sense can be so strong that turning my attention towards others became a great distraction, but it wasn’t a loving one. These are the darker sides of my shadows yes, but he also showed me how much hope I have inside me. That my capacity for love and forgiveness is bigger than I’d ever imagined, and that I desire nothing more than to nurture those I love into the highest version of themselves. I may not always see people as they are, I see them better, and while that can catch me playing the fool, it is also a blessing. But these qualities are only powerful when they come from a balanced space that begins with self-love. The inner patriarch I discovered in this relationship has a tricky voice but it is the same one that kept me from trusting my feminine wisdom, my emotional guidance system, and my right to be the keeper of my own temple. A woman free of shame for being
a sensual being with every right to say, ‘no’ I don’t have to share my body, my truth or my energy just because you want it. I don’t have to think and act in a logical manner, suppressing my feelings because they could be deemed irrational. I am sovereign. I am wild. I am a woman. And until I follow the authority of my own heart and give myself the permission I give others, I will keep circling this merry go round of repeating patterns. It took almost two years of anger (then owning it), resentment (then forgiveness) and blame, for me to accept my own responsibility in drawing that relationship into my life. After it ended I was a shadow of my former self, but as playful and light as that self was, she was just a little girl. Now I am beginning to feel like a woman of wisdom. It’s harder to see the changes that have become me, but inside it feels like a candle was lit in my soul. Now I’m able to see, in moments, just how good my ego can be at keeping me away from my inner source of unlimited love and potential. The candle is small but it flickers against the walls of my being casting great shadows that can’t be ignored, and every time I face them I get closer to being the person I was meant to become. Just like in Peter Pan, our shadow will keep following behind, wreaking havoc on our lives until we manage to stitch it back on and dance alongside it…. and what a beautiful dance it can become.
WORDS :: LIZZIE SWARTZ ART :: CANDICE CAMERON
YOUR FUTURE SELF, YOUR SPIRITUAL MIDWIFE “W henever we go through a process of rebirth, whether through the portal of pregnancy, the ritual of monthly menstruation or simply our journeys as women on earth, our future self is always guiding us throughout the process.”
mbarking on the journey of pregnancy, there are so many unknowns. How will my body change? How will my relationships change? How will my work change?
How will I change? Of course, I’ve found so much help from birth classes and books, midwife appointments, and my fellow sisters. Yet, the most helpful has been working with my future self. You can imagine your future self as an aspect of you, years from now, who has already been through what you’ll go through in the months and years to come. For me right now, my future self already embodies the mother archetype. She’s made the decisions, created the boundaries, and revisited her values. She’s gone through the delivery process. She has been my deepest guide throughout this journey. Whenever we go through a process of rebirth, whether through the portal of pregnancy, the ritual of monthly menstruation or simply our journeys as women on earth, our future self is always guiding us throughout the process. Sometimes the hardest part of rebirth is not knowing where we are going. What will our lives look like on the other side? How will we change? How will our relationships shift? Our future self has been through these transformations, and can guide us to the other side. I still remember my first visit with my future self. I sat down to meditate, and I remember asking her what I needed to know in order to make my future life more joyful. She shared the foundations of the business she wanted me to start. I had no intentions to start a business at the time, but looking back it was exactly the right timing.
VOLUME 8 :: REBIRTH
During the beginning of my pregnancy, I went on a meditation to meet my future self. She told me what I needed to do to prepare for birth: look into ecstatic birth education, slow down my work schedule (especially the month before my due date), and create a big pink and green painting to be in the birth room. She also showed me how birth preparation begins months in advance, and how I needed to spend as much time meditating, relaxing and enjoying my pregnancy as was possible. As I’ve integrated these principles into my life, I’ve seen how wise her words were. I might have looked into ecstatic birth, but I might not have taken my research so seriously. I might have slowed down my work, but not so much. And I never would have thought to create a painting for the birth room! If you wish to contact your future self, there are two great ways. The first is to go into meditation, and the other one is to journal. MEDITATION If you enjoy meditation, simply go into meditation and connect to your breathing. When you feel calm, ask to connect with your future self. You can choose any time period you wish: yourself a week from now, a few months from now, or a few years from now. When you feel connected to her, ask her to share anything you might need to make your life easier. You might receive messages, pictures, or energy transmissions. It might totally feel like pretend, but that’s ok. I promise it is real. When you feel complete, thank her for her guidance, and open your eyes. If you feel called, journal about your experience. JOURNALING If you find journaling easier, you can have a question and answer session with your future self. Begin by sitting in a meditative state. Have a notebook and pen in hand. If you wish, you can choose to answer your questions with your non-dominant hand. Ask to connect with your future self. Again, you can choose any time period you wish: a week from now, a few months from now, or a few years from now. When you feel connected, ask your future self a question. Pause, and allow her to answer. Write down the messages you receive, being as open and receptive as possible. You can continue asking questions, and when you feel complete, thank her for the guidance. A FEW MORE POINTERS The more I do this exercise, the more I’ve noticed a few patterns. My future self isn’t totally radical or off-base. Often her suggestions are super practical and something that I would actually do. That said, her timelines are much faster than ones I’d come
up with on my own. And other times, she’ll bring up lingering ideas I’ve had for years and have never acted upon. It is really impossible to know what she’ll recommend, but do use discernment. If you receive messages that don’t resonate, don’t feel the need to act upon them. The truth has a resonance that your body knows. In the meantime, know that you’re constantly being supported by guides visible and invisible. Whenever you need them, they are there to support you in a heartbeat, cheering for you on your beautiful journey.
VOLUME 8 :: REBIRTH
Amber Sage Wirth
TRIBE de MAMA
The Journey of Tattooed Women
WORDS :: AMBER SAGE WIRTH PHOTOGRAPHY :: AMBER SAGE WIRTH
VOLUME 8 :: REBIRTH
y beloved sisters, I am deeply honored to share with you from the openness of my heart. The spirit of Kauai is a magical one that holds ancient wisdom.
Her divine goddess-like energies are eternally and unconditionally nurturing for the heart and soul. Mama, the island of Kauai, is the home of the sacred feminine carrying the highest vibration of light. As soon as I grounded my roots deeply into her soil I connected with the Divine. My time in Kauai has been transformative to my body, mind and spirit. The awakening to my own Truth became intense and challenging as time progressed on the island. My healing journey here has been an overwhelming experience of ascension, awakening, descension and expansion. Separating from the illusions of my ego through forgiveness, love and compassion as I transcend change through the chaos of what is. By honoring the gift of vulnerability, I expanded my awareness of resistance and learned how to release it. This acceptance and presence allowed me to witness, honor and release what no longer served me as it arose into my conscious awareness. This expansion created the space to reconnect to my spiritual and healing gifts as well as a deeper opening of my heart.
From the ebb & flows of endless waters, lush mountains and rainbow medicine, Mamaâ€™s energies truly enhanced my connection with Spirit. I began to notice my perceptions were changing as I deepened my connection with Gaia. The sacred waters of Mama divinely brought me back to my own personal power. Her healing cleanse awakened my ability to see the radiance within myself especially during times of deep rawness. Her energies swirling endlessly in my body, purifying me in ways that not only served my highest good, but allowed me to heal deeply. Wailua Falls is a sacred place, one I instantly resonated with. Every visit I felt an infinite amount of blissful energies and rainbow blessings. My experience with each rainbow was a special one. Swimming through the gateway of each prismatic arch, I absorbed its medicine. Spirit gently reminding me to stay on my path, to release expectations and embrace the gifts and beauty of Gaia. This was a powerful mirror of my healing journey on the island of Kauai. The rainbow symbolized the strength of my intuition as well as my faith and trust in the process.
My journey with Mama was a blessing. She deeply mirrored the beacon of light within me. She is the island of healing for personal expansion and transformation. The depth of her love was heart opening, reconnecting me back to the Divine. Teaching me to see the beauty within all creation. Ascending beyond my limits. I’ve travelled down into the depths of my shadows to the gateway of my unconscious where the essence of my ego-beliefs lived. I have opened myself to the unknown where miracles abound. I am awakening to our deepest Truth that we are One. I am here to serve in the healing of humanity, Gaia and myself through a powerful paradigm of love, gratitude, compassion and unity. “We are the light, with the light and within the light”— Meg Blackburn Losey, Ph.D
PHOTOGRAPHY :: AMY LEE HYBARGER
THE J OURNE Y OF TAT TOOE D WOME N
VOLUME 8 :: REBIRTH
ith this volume we are endeavoring on a new project: a photo journal series where we collaborate with our favorite women photographers in honor of the
women of our planet. Our aim is to celebrate the beauty of the Woman through all walks of life, and to show our sisterhood that despite geographical whereabouts or upbringing, we all come from the Goddess. Each of us is one aspect of her. We all carry her energy. We all experience her cycles. Our individual journey reflects in our global womanhood’s journey, and so as a community who resonate together, we fully embrace each sister of this conscious web. Through our collaboration with Amy Lee, a Las Vegas based artist, we explored the world of tattooed women of Southern California. We asked each woman what it means to be a tattooed woman out in the world, and what it means inside the safe walls of their homes. We are pleased to share their answers and photographs with you.
AMY LEE, Photographer Being a tattooed woman is beautiful and powerful. It also carries great weight because as common as it is, it is still a bit off the beaten path. I feel the weight of breaking the mold of both being a woman who follows society’s boundaries, and also showing the world that a tattooed woman can also be a caring mother, a gentle friend and a relentless dream chaser. In a way, wearing your life story on your body is not a suit of armor, but vulnerability, and a reminder of where you have been and how you have evolved. Women who are brave enough to bare their souls and their skin are rewriting the story for women. Maybe we are not changing what society will accept, but society is changing. We are paving the way for other women to not have to feel “normal”, as none of us are. It is not something that divides us, but makes us all feel a bit more connected. I am a woman/wife/mother/photographer. I have a purpose to understand life and the deep connection we have to it and to each other.
BRIANA SARGENT, Tattoo Artist Heavily tattooed women possess a certain mystique. It’s the magic of adornment. I enjoy artistic expression through body markings. I am an artist. I wear my (he)art on my sleeves. I feel most comfortable adorned with squirrels and acorns; things that make me smile and elicit fond memories. My favorite tattoo is a small “XO” on my thumb. It was placed with affection by the love of my life, Loni. At Buju Tattoo (named after my pit bull fur baby) the majority of the artists are female. It makes for a unique vibe. We exist in a culture that learns, and then hopefully unlearns, gender stereotypes. By housing a group of forward thinking women, the shop is an open and welcoming space to all who come through our doors.
THE JOURNEY OF TATTOOED WOMEN
KATHERINE EMRICK, Artist and Writer Tiny fingers trace the lines in my skin. Heads heavy lay between my anchor and the masked woman that are forever on my arm. Pieces of artwork that mean something and remind me of a time in my past that I hope not to forget. I was different then, yet when I look at the work on my body I am reminded of that time, not so long ago. Searching for myself through expression and covering insecurities with color and bold lines. Each tattoo that holds a place on my body is there because I wanted it to be there. I chose each pieceâ€Ś on my own. These tattoos will never leave me, unless I ask them to. As a young woman, I was forced to do things I wasnâ€™t ready to handle. Things that drew me inside of myself for so long. I was held down and made to listen. Through tears I wished that I could get up and walk away, that I could disappear just like my father. Like so many of the men that have come into my life and left. Growing and healing led me to expression without speaking. Pretty little things, words that speak to my soul, artwork chosen by the artist that would put it on my skin. All of it made me feel like I was ok, like no one could see me. It still does. This work is mine; this collection makes me who I am.
VOLUME 8 :: REBIRTH
MORGAN MARTINEZ, Cosmic Chemist Questions I’m asked about my tattoos often lead to conversations about science, math, and art. Being able to connect with people through things I care about deeply is an opportunity. I don’t often see other people with science-themed tattoos, so I feel like I’m able to make a contribution to changing ideas of the motivations for getting tattoos. The vibrant colors and subtle designs of Briana Sargent, who’s done all of my tattoos, render these themes highly feminine, which heighten that effect. I like to think of my tattoos as a way to do my part in keeping science sexy!
OHLIVIA SIMMONS, Barista For me personally, it’s like wearing my heart on my sleeve in another sense. Everything I love about being me I get to permanently wear. To be a tattooed mother is far deeper than it may look to others. I grew with these images, and I love the art I wear. Things aren’t just things. They form as an idea and you get to visualize someone making it a real thing, you tell a person of a concept, they make that concept real. I felt a different approach from people as I began collecting more tattoos, perceptions change and the constant “What about when you’re old, what is that going to look like?” In return I’ve always wondered why people care so much about what I AM going to look like, instead worry about you. I wear my tattoos as a representation of myself for you to look at, not to judge. Becoming a mother and living and growing in a community where people seem more open to a mother with an “alternative” style makes me smile, makes me feel welcome and leveled. There are always going to be people who aren’t ever going to understand us, and that’s okay with me, it wasn’t always about being understood. I took getting tattooed as an opportunity to express myself in a permanent art form that will always allow me to be myself.
THE JOURNEY OF TATTOOED WOMEN
KAHILI YOUNG, Artist I am an art collector and an old soul. I also collect pieces of the divine natural worldfeathers, rocks, leaves, bones, shells and plants and keep these physical objects around me. These items, though not in and of themselves necessarily holding power, are a reminder of the beauty, art and magnificence that the earth holds. So too, my tattoos are a representation of the earth and what I collect, what I hold to be sacred. They are a representation of the connection I feel when my hands are in the dirt or standing on a mountain top. They are my story of life, my loves, and my power as extended from my feet that touch the ground. I like to break the rules as to what is ‘pretty’ or ‘feminine’ or ‘masculine’. I just want to be me- a blend of this duality as the natural world displays so effortlessly. Tattoos empower my spirit to be fully expressed, celebrate my body and feel beautiful. An older, tribal essence of the history of tattoos also resonates with my being. As a fair skinned, curvy, physically attractive woman, I think having permanent decorations on my skin offers a different, strong, masculine, earth-warrior energy. Although there are many ways beyond the physical image to represent the idea, in this way I feel balanced inside and out. I am a fierce and loving rainbow warrior!! A prismatic blend of young and old, present and past, male and female. Hear me ROAR!!!!!
VOLUME 8 :: REBIRTH
KIKI SMITH, Reiki Healer My choice to be a tattooed person comes from the desire to express myself as a creative individual. I view tattoos as an art form and I am an art collector curating my own permanent collection that I can take with me everywhere and share with everyone. I have a tattoo inspired by the love of fairy tales and the moral lessons learned from these ancient stories. It states: â€œbe kind.â€? It is fun to notice when people read that tattoo, how it reminds them of that simple, happy truth and how it can inspire others to behave kindly. Being a tattooed woman expresses my feminine strength. I am a petite woman, so I like the juxtaposition of the tough image of tattoos upon my small frame because it breaks stereotypes of what a woman is: fragile, vulnerable, and delicate. There are still a lot of preconceptions about tattoos so I make a concerted effort to smile and be friendly, especially at playgrounds, to try to break the patterns of discrimination and prove that in this modern age an Asian American woman can be tattooed and be a great mother too. Plus, in my opinion, tattoos keep you looking youthful, daring, and fun!
THE JOURNEY OF TATTOOED WOMEN
KRISTA SQUIRES Maker Being a tattooed mother is entirely different than being a tattooed woman, in my experience. People judge you before they hear you speak, before they know you as a person. It’s human nature. Someone thinking less of me as a person doesn’t bother me. Someone thinking less of me as a mother breaks my heart. They don’t see how much of myself I pour into motherhood, how every moment is for Stella. Every moment, and every decision is for her. In the long run I know being the child of tattooed parents will teach Stella to be more accepting of people who look different, to find the content of their character before dismissing them for how they look or what they choose to do with their bodies. She will be more tolerant, more understanding, and contributing to a more compassionate world.