In the Company of Yin

cover yin yang

There was a time in my life (in that maiden to mother phase) when I naturally fell into a routine of caring for my mate and child, spending more of my time on them than on anything else.  It’s easy to do and I think many American women can identify.

Your girlfriends are in the same stage and it’s easy to let those friendships fall by the wayside.  It’s easy to allow yourself the joys of family and immerse yourself in your relationship with a significant other.  With the exception of lesbian couples, this is almost always a male dominated time in one’s life.

Family

And there’s nothing wrong with that.  I know, for me, it was a time to explore the Animus side of my own psyche.  I spent a tremendous amount of time trying to put myself in my husband’s shoes, in order to better understand him.  It was part of my endeavor to be a good wife/partner in our relationship.  And much of this time in my life was worthwhile and valuable and enjoyable.

But something was still missing.  I realized, one day, that so much of my life revolved around Husband and Family that I no longer had strong bonds with women.  In fact, I wasn’t sure I ever had.  I seemed to hold a belief in the back of my mind that I’d always identified more with men anyway.  In hindsight, this might have been a “sour grapes” sort of attitude.  I felt obligated to that life… even though, when I got honest with myself, I had to admit that I chose it.  But there was, at that time, a bit of a feeling of being trapped in that.

In my marriage, our friends were HIS friends.  My women friends were the wives of his friends.  So I thought I’d try to cultivate some real bonds in that pool of choices.  I decided to have a party just for the women in our social group.

High Tea

I devised a beautiful, pampering “High Tea” sort of soiree.  I called it my Sereni-Tea Party, during which each woman would receive massages, manicures, a soak in the Hot-Tub and all sorts of pampering.  I also devised a small ritual, where each woman was crowned as a Goddess.

The idea was to remind each of us that we are sovereign in our lives, that we may choose, daily, how (and for whom) to live.  It was a big hit.  Everyone loved it.  No one loved it more than I did.  It sparked some changes in my life that are still in the works, I think.

aphrodite

I’m not sure if anyone else at that party “got” what I was trying to convey… but I did.  I claimed myself that day, and again and again on many days that followed it, I claimed my own sovereignty.

The experience sparked a new way of thinking for me.  I had one close female friend and I forged deeper into that bond.  She supported me and cared about my outcomes.  It was a really good start.

friends

I began to embody the Queen archetype.  And that sovereign queen of her own life was not the woman my husband married.  So in some ways, I could call that the beginning of the end of my marriage.  It’s okay.  It was a marriage that needed to end. And when it did, those women (the wives of his friends) shunned me like an Amish photographer. And that’s okay too. They were not “my tribe” anyway.

After the divorce I began to create more and more relationships with women.  I came honestly and openly into groups of females sharing my experiences and my ideas, and offering my empathy for the things that they may have experienced as well.  And that’s when the magick started to happen in my life.

I joined a witch’s grove of learning.  We met each week to discuss books, teach and learn and challenge each other toward excellence.  In the process we also loved, nurtured, supported and cheered each other on.  The grove developed into a coven.  I served as one of the leaders of that coven for quite a few years.

circle of women

I learned and grew more in those years than any other time in my life that I can recall.  I increased my personal power exponentially during that time, because of the company of other powerful women, all striving for their own excellence and the collective excellence of the group.  It created such momentum.  We were all swept along in it.

My leadership role in that group led me to more leadership.  I formed a non-profit spiritual center in my own home.  We offered worship services of an inclusive nature. We provided workshops, support groups, had festivals.  And I gained all of the experiences of facilitating that. And I could not have done it without the blessing of a number of breath-taking feminine souls who were regular members at the center.  They enriched me and the others in our group tremendously.

Life changed, as it does, and eventually I closed the center and moved clear across the country.  In my new home town, I volunteer and teach at a non-profit which supports women in ALL their endeavors to improve their own lives. It’s called Fresh Start Women’s Foundation.

And now, I also facilitate women’s spiritual retreats.  The latest installment of that happened in Sedona, AZ last month.

(There’s a new one coming up in November – Click here for more info!)

Six women from different backgrounds, understandings, beliefs and challenges came together.  We discussed and explored our hopes and fears. We worked towards our dreams.  We shared laughter and shed tears.  We moved forward in our lives, powerfully and magickally.

Above is photographic evidence of the goddess power we generated around us.  (Watch the orb at the foot of each goddess.  This showed up on 3 different cameras!)

owl yin yang

Yin in Taoism is the Feminine Principle.  The feminine aspect of this dualistic reality in which we live occupies the “dark side” of the yin yang symbol.

In Wiccan circles the Goddess is represented by the Moon, the night, while the God is represented by the Sun and the day.

This, in no way should be interpreted as meaning that the feminine principle is “bad” or “wrong”, although that is the way that much of our patriarchal society defines it.

But the divine feminine is a mystery.  The High Priestess card in Tarot holds a scroll, which is half hidden and sits before a curtain, beyond which are mysteries and wisdom untold.  There are even popular jokes about how women are complete mysteries to men.

High Priestess

There’s a reason for that.  And I think it’s our power.  This kind of power cannot simply be offered to everyone.  The power of the Feminine Divine is hidden for a reason.  The right to exist in its web must be earned.

And the women whose power is blatant and obvious to the world have been called everything under the sun, from demon, harlot, bitch to witch, activist, boss and Goddess.

The fact is that all women possess this power.  The degrees may vary or the power may be more or less suppressed by this patriarchal jailhouse, but, make no mistake, it is there.  It is present and can be awakened to greater strengths to greater missions and to the greatness of all things touched by such power.

I’ve found that when women come together in any kind of group, there is a magickal phenomenon that takes place.  There is a heightened power, an increase in intensity, like a spiritual battery being turned on.

A woman is powerful.

A couple of women, or a group, aligned in their Will, connected at their hearts and clear in their intentions, are UNSTOPPABLE, and deeply magickal.

Goddess Group

I’m not talking about excluding men from your life, by any means!  Today, I am in a committed and happy relationship with a loving, wonderful man. In fact, I believe that the time I’ve spent loving and nurturing other women (and myself) is a direct contributor to my finding him and to my being worthy of him.  Our relationship is very strong.  We believe in each other. We encourage each other. We acknowledge each other’s sovereignty.  And I adore spending time with him.

But these days, as the sovereign queen/goddess that I am, I choose to also spend a lot of quality time in the company of Yin.

7 Things You Need for Transformation

Dragonfly image source: http://www.diviningdamoiselle.com/  Butterfly Image Source: http://www.mariabird.com/

 

So you want to change?  You want something different?

If your desire to change goes down to your core, if it has you wanting to smash all your good china, kick your boss in the shins while screaming, “I QUIT!” or get in your car and just drive, never to return, then you just might be ready for a transformation.

drivingaway

Driving Away Image Source: https://findingfaeries.wordpress.com/tag/vacation/

It’s no little thing.

Think about the examples; Butterflies, Dragonflies – going from something that crawls to something that flies and enduring almost complete annihilation of the former being.

Tadpoles;  changing the very element that sustains and holds you.

It’s dangerous.  It’s radical.  It takes a very particular frame of mind and set of guts. It takes everything you’ve got.

So here are 7 ingredients needed to help you transform.  The order is not always the same and the magnitude of each may vary, but all of these things (and probably more) are always required.

So here goes.  Hang on to that plate for a minute, resist the urge to kick the boss and put the car in park.  Maybe, just maybe, you can do this without totally destroying your life.

1.  Willingness

sad caterpillar
Sad Caterpillar Image Source:  http://www.zazzle.com/sad+crying+weeping+stickers

The desire or willingness to transform usually comes from some form of dissatisfaction with “What Is”.  Sometimes it can be triggered by an event. Or it can happen sort of spontaneously.  See my previous blog, “Spontaneous Initiation” for more on that.

Or… if you can grasp an understanding of the process, you can choose to go through a transformation to change some aspect of your life that is not currently working well.

Please NOTE!  You can choose to go through it, but you cannot choose all of the steps along the way.  Real transformation involves confronting the unknown as you will see below.  So a willingness to suffer, to delve, to work hard is necessary.  Whether this happens because you are just so sick of “What Is”, or whether it begins by choice, the work and pain cannot be avoided.

2.  Courage

alien atmosphere

Alien Atmosphere Image Source:  http://www.messagetoeagle.com/vcloudyweatherGJ1214b.php

Another thing about real transformation is that you can’t know the outcome, not entirely.  If you truly knew and understood the being that is on the other side of that miraculous change, then you would already BE that.  But going in, the transformed self that will emerge is a mystery.  The person you are before doesn’t take the same nourishment, may not even breathe the same air as that new being.  It’s like treading into an alien atmosphere without a space suit.  Bravery is needed!

3.  Descent/Darkness

dark scary cave
 Dark Scary Cave Image Source: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/119978777543128602/

Transformation requires darkness. It requires turning inward to the self and facing difficult truths. The butterfly folds itself into the chrysalis.  The dragonfly dwells down in the mud under the water for most of its early life.  This dwelling with the shadow self and taking a good hard look at “What Is” and “Why It Is”  is a necessary component for change.

And the darkness itself is part of why we see transformation as miraculous.  Rising  out of that darkness into such light is astounding to all who witness it.  (Hint: That’s why it’s worth it!)

4.  New Information

Transformation always requires the assimilation of a new truth.  This will almost undoubtedly conflict with some other deeply held belief you’ve had.  The old, deeply held belief may not even be conscious at the beginning.  (See above regarding descent and shadow work to uncover it.)

Then, once the two conflicting bits of information are discovered you who wish to transform, you who are deep in the mud, or encased in the chrysalis with your shadow must dwell there with both conflicting beliefs for a time.

 This causes dissonance.  Dissonance is VERY uncomfortable.  But this is such a crucial stage.  This is where the old you begins to dissolve and re-form into the new!

Two Wolves

This stage reminds me of the old Native American fable of the Two Wolves.  The grandfather is telling stories to the children, describing two wolves who struggle always inside of you.  One holds the truth and the light and one holds only falsehood and darkness and they fight viciously!  The children enquire – “Grandfather! Which wolf wins the fight?”

Grandfather answers, “The one you feed.”

Two Wolves Image Source: http://www.theapricity.com/forum/showthread.php?54225-The-Wolf-Appreciation-Thread/page14

This is something you may want to keep in mind while struggling through this transformation process.  Consciously look for proof of the new information and consciously decide to debunk the old at every turn.  This is how you’ll win out.

5.  Acceptance/Death

Can you embrace the belief that flight is possible for you?  Even if it means the destruction of the crawling you?   Transformation demands it!

Light breaking throughAt some point in this process the impending annihilation of the old you will rear up and strike a deep fear in your heart.  You have to let go of the old you BEFORE you know what the new you will actually be like.  You have to be willing to die to one life and emerge in a new one.  The more calm acceptance you can cultivate in your time in the darkness, the easier this transition will be.  Meditation and spiritual practice can help in this regard.  Take your time to nurture you while you’re down in the dark.  It’s the only way.

 

Light breaking through image source:  https://www.pinterest.com/pin/43276846389158178/

6.  Strength/Resurrection

A time will come when you have a sense that it is time to break out.  But depending on the depth of your transformation and the length of time spent in the mud, there is a danger that you’ll get trapped in the dark.

Breaking out of the old skin/shell/chrysalis takes a tremendous amount of power.  Collect yourself and remember that all that time in the dark has been building you up for this moment.  Be like this guy and just bust the hell out!

breaking-out-of-shell2

Breaking Out of Shell Image Source:  http://www.radianttransformation.com/archives/2010/12/got-bad-habits-here-are-8-steps-to-break-out-of-your-shell/

7.  Blinking Emergence into the Light and Lift-off!

You will blink and squint at the brightness after emerging. It’s only natural.  Time is needed to assess what you’ve become and to understand how this new life works.

Sustaining this new being, which went from the stillness and dark of breathing water and mud to the spectacular freedom of breathing the clear air and flying in the sunlight, is an important task.  It requires reflection, maintenance and vigilance to not fall back into old familiar depths.

Child Squinting Image Source: http://www.2020eyesite.com/laser-eye-center-blog/  Woman Shielding Image Source: http://batesvision.com/article/visiontips/

dragonfly

 

Take flight, you wonderful new and amazing being!  Rejoice in your success and keep it going!  Fly where you will – to find the next big challenge!

 

 

 

Dragonfly Image Source: http://cliparts.co/dragonfly-gif

And here’s a bonus for you, dear reader!  A Transformational trigger experience!  Do you see that beautiful blue butterfly photo at the top of the article?  That was taken by Maria Bird, Strategic Motivator.  She is hosting an amazing event at the end of this month called Transformational Hiking

Here’s the facebook event page.

If you are in New York – or anywhere near the Hudson Valley, I highly recommend this Mega-Workshop!

Transformational Hiking

 

I traveled to New York from Arizona to take it last year. Maria Bird , having experienced her own incredible transformation, is absolutely expert at conveying this important information in a way that is easily understood, exciting and motivating! There is so much knowledge and power packed into this experience (and all in such a beautiful and inspiring location!) you will end the day feeling exhilarated and ready to take on the world! Worth. Every. Penny! Call her immediately!

Goddess Divine Empowerment!

How I went from Playing Way Too Small to Being an Empowered Goddess and So Can You!

oppressed-women  My last blog post ended with me in the depths of addiction and and suffering the pain and humiliation of a terrible marriage.  So, how did all of this turn around?  I’ll tell you!

A few years into that marriage I finally decided to get a handle on my addictive, self-destructive practices. That makes it sound like it was easy, like I made a decision one day and then got clean. That’s not what happened. There was a LOT of “Facing my Shadow”, and “embracing my darkness” at that time. I was introduced to the concepts put forth by the noted psychologist, Carl Jung and began to study the practice of uncovering and accepting our “Shadow” aspects, those parts of ourselves that we would rather deny. I had a lot of that. Also, during that journey, in my twenties, I was introduced to the concept of spirituality as opposed to religion. Cultivating a connection with some “unknowable force” helped me greatly in my recovery from alcohol and drug abuse, and I became a seeker. Learning about spiritual practice became my new drug of choice, I believe, because it touched on that true nature and those gifts I was denying. Some part of me recognized that something here might actually have an effect on the root cause of my destructive behavior. I wasn’t consciously aware of this, of course, but I believe it was there.

So I read everything I could. I spent many years investigating different spiritual practices. I studied, and continue to study, world religions, and philosophies like Catholicism and Christianity in general, Buddhism, Taoism, Hinduism, and so on. And while I can’t say that I felt a deep connection to any one religious view, what I did find was the practice of meditation. Meditation was the single most important component in my recovery and my journey to here. And it remains the staple of my current practice. I cannot over-state its importance in my evolution from frightened little girl to empowered Goddess. It saved my life.

I’m going to repeat that here because it’s REALLY IMPORTANT!

Meditation was the single most important component in my recovery and my journey to here. And it remains the staple of my current practice. I cannot over-state its importance in my evolution from frightened little girl to empowered Goddess. It saved my life.

empowered goddess   My studies continued and began to include more philosophy, psychology and mythology. I read some classics by great scholars such as Marcus Aurelius, Socrates, Plato and added in some more modern works by the likes of Eckhart Tolle and Joseph Campbell. My views continued to expand as I continued to grow in every way that I could manage. During all of this, I became the mother to a beautiful old soul, a daughter. Witnessing the miracles of her birth and growth and my regular meditation practice were putting me in connection with the divine on a daily basis. Everything changes then. You see, when you meditate it puts you in touch with that ineffable ground of spirit that permeates all that there is. It verifies the unbreakable connection between these bodies we are currently inhabiting and that limitless “other” which we discover is not “other” at all. It’s like plugging in to a vast switchboard where everything is accessible. The miraculous is occurring all around us at every moment in time. I began to notice, is all.

All the while, I was still married to that overbearing, narcissistic man. And during most of our marriage, because there was still that part of me aiming to please and eager to be seen as “the good wife”, we got along fine. But then I began to grow a spine. I began to understand that I had to set an example for my daughter. And I began to disagree with some of the decisions he was making for us and for me. And that was when it got bumpy. I won’t go into the details here of the ultimate awakening that brought me out of that marriage, but know that I did break free and I did so in a meaningful and mindful way, understanding my part in all of it and understanding what I would no longer accept for myself or for my child.

In the following years I was inspired to study the many connections between science and spirituality and became very interested in (um, ok, obsessed with) quantum physics and the philosophies of mind over matter, what some call the Law of Attraction (what I call witchcraft). There was a wonderful feeling of being carried along on a wave of new information and discovery. One insight led to another. One book led to a dozen more. With a broader understanding of myself and the concepts of energy, I renewed my interest in divination and I studied the Tarot, with all of its wonderful Archetypes and insight into the human journey. I also began again to experiment with Skrying. All of this brought me to the study of Nature-based religions like Wicca and Heathenry and paganism in general. And a new wave of discovery launched me into practice with others and the structure and benefits of ritual, shared energy and sisterhood. I delved deeply into the study of mythology, especially the Goddesses which re-energized my desire to facilitate women’s empowerment. I was given the opportunity to expand my leadership skills as a founding member of a coven, often presiding over Ritual as Priestess. And, finally I put that into practice in my own spiritual Meetup Group and opened an inclusive spiritual center from my own home where I hosted many, many workshops, ceremonies, rituals and festivals before moving to Phoenix, AZ.

Aphrodite2   So here I am today, wanting to share some of this learning and insight with you, the seeker with the Goddess hidden inside. I can help you find your inner Goddess because I worked so hard to find my own. And I’ve distilled all of the seeking and struggles and mistakes and successes into some very essential lessons to set you on your personal journey to Goddesshood. Join me and a number of your sisters on this amazing, life-changing adventure. Simply email me at AffordableSedonaRetreat@gmail.com for all the details.  There is absolutely NO obligation, NO spam, NO sharing of your email address and a free gift!  This retreat will fill up, so don’t hesitate!  

With Love and Sisterhood,

Renée

Blessed Be

… How I went from Natural Psychic to Natural Disaster…

This series of blogs is dedicated to  Goddess Divine -A Spiritual Retreat for Women which will be taking place in Sedona, AZ in May.  Email me at AffordableSedonaRetreat@gmail.com for all the details! When last we connected, dear reader, I had given you a brief overview of my “qualifications” to help you bring forth your inner […]

Goddess Divine Women’s Retreat – Why You Need It!

Sedona

So there’s this amazing event coming up!  The Goddess Divine Retreat for Women in Sedona, AZ on May 20, 21 and 22, 2016 will bring you into deep connectedness with your Sacred Self.  In this way you will discover and form a truly rewarding relationship with your inner Goddess and be excited to share her outrageous beauty and light with the whole world!  If you’re even the tiniest bit curious, do yourself a favor and e-mail AffordableSedonaRetreat@gmail.com right NOW!   There is no obligation and you will receive a valuable FREE GIFT – and even MORE valuable information about how you can be a participant in this wonderful weekend of Sacred Sisterhood! 

In a previous post, I promised you more details about ME Renee Damoiselle of Divining Damoiselle, your retreat facilitator.  So, What qualifies me to prepare you for Goddesshood?

Well, to begin, I will tell you that, as a much younger woman, I was very focused on being perceived as “good” and on not being too noticeable (all the while fearful that my “freak-flag” would be uncovered at any moment!) In other words, I was very much NOT living like the Goddess that I am!  Today, however, I enjoy referring to myself as a Badass Witch Priestess of Warrior Deities, with a divine mission to save the world, one woman at a time.  In other words, I successfully grew a spine and stepped into my Goddesshood, after a time of hiding my light.  It was not easy.  It took work and desire and commitment, but because I’ve been there, I can show you the way.

Shine

That’s me now.   Along my journey, I’ve met many other women whose light has also been kept hidden.  The reasons may be varied (patriarchal society, misogyny, trauma) but the result is actually tragic, for the individual woman and for the world.  The divine feminine light that glows within every woman is meant to be anchored in this world and to shine brightly.  What a woman can achieve once she embraces her true divine nature is limitless.  The healing ripple effects of her efforts will be felt universally.  This is my mission because I know, intimately, what it feels like to break free in this way, and that joy must be shared.

Looking for a juicier story?  Stay tuned for the next blog, where we’ll get down and dirty with the details of that amazing journey!

… to be continued…