the gifts of Black Madonna

the gifts of Black Madonna

This month in the Embracing Shakti Temple our featured embodiment of the Divine Feminine is the Black Madonna – a representation of the Great Mother archetype. The Black Madonna has been one of the most mysterious and controversial religious icons for centuries. Dating to mostly the medieval period, she usually appears in the form of paintings or carvings. While some say she is just another Virgin Mary carved from black wood, others think it is soot on her skin from the smoke of a thousand candles. However, there is speculation that goes much deeper than that.

While there are hundreds of Black Madonnas in churches and museums throughout Europe and Latin America, some scholars say she is linked to religions that existed long before Christianity. Her shrines are often in locations that were once pagan holy grounds for Diana, Artemis, Cybele and Isis. Even further back, she may represent the archetypal Earth Mother, Gaia, the ancient, eternal power of the feminine force, creator of all life, who gives birth, nourishes and feeds us all, and to whom we shall return to when we die. However depicted, or where she came from, there is no doubt that she conveys a sense of depth and mystery.

If you would like to evoke the energy of the Black Madonna to connect to power of transformation, here are a few suggestions:

  • To honour new birth that comes with Spring, plant a favourite flower in Black Madonna’s name. If you’d like to take this one step further, decorate the pot and create a shrine to her around it.
  • Black Madonna reminds us that we cannot rule over nature and constantly recycles all things. What can you recycle to do your part to help our environment? Bottles, paper, electronics … go through your home to see what you can purge and reprocess.
  • The Great Mother embraces all things creative! How do you see the Black Madonna? Why not paint, carve or create your own depiction of her?
a pleasure filled gift

a pleasure filled gift

Do you sometimes feel disconnected from your body? Me too. Even though I have been teaching embodiment practices for more than 25 years, I still become dissociated from being in my physical form, especially when I am overscheduled and experiencing lots of stress.

But what I do know is that being connected in my body allows me to experience pleasure, and that pleasure is a key essential essence of the feminine. And while most of us understand in our minds what pleasure is, so many of us are lacking pleasure in our everyday lives.

Dr. Christiane Northrup, a pioneer in the field of women’s health says that the deliberate pursuit of pleasure requires great courage. Why? Because it is so easy to follow the well worn path of being armoured, self-sacrifice and shutting down.

Sound familiar?

Bringing more pleasure into your life asks that you move a little more out of your zone of comfort, to make yourself a priority and to give yourself permission to say YES to yourself and your deepest desires.

So today I want to give you an easy (and totally doable!) opportunity to tap into the pleasure that is waiting to be discovered in your body. In fact, this experience is always available to us, we just have to pay attention.

I’ve created a 10 minute Open to Pleasure Meditation just for you. You can do it sitting or lying down, all that is important is that you actually do it!

To access the meditation, just click HERE.

One of the gifts of this human body is to delight in the many exquisite sensations available to us. I believe connecting to pleasure is one of our birthrights. I invite you to take a few moments in your day today to reconnect with your pleasure potential and notice what happens.

the gifts of Sedna

the gifts of Sedna

This month in the Embracing Shakti Temple our featured embodiment of the Divine Feminine is Sedna, the Inuit Goddess of the sea and shadow. She represents thankfulness, providence, nature and abundance. The mother of the sea, Sedna origin story is quite tragic and she became a very important figure in Inuit mythology as the provider of nourishment for both the body and soul.

Sedna also represents our capacity to discover what is in the unconscious. When we dive down into the depths of our inner ocean, we often find a hidden treasure, beneath the debris that we have accumulated inside. By exploring our own inner shadow land, we can discover and reintegrate precious aspects of ourselves. We can become Sedna’s of our own inner ocean.

If you would like to evoke the energy of Sedna to connect to her magic and power, here are a few suggestions:

  • The next time you are experiencing deep, big, uncomfortable emotions, instead of dissociating from them or chastising yourself for having them, can you pause and take a few deep breaths? Then allow yourself to feel everything exactly as it is and notice what is below the surface of the emotion. Go into the depths of your experience and just witness what is there. Something powerful might be waiting to be discovered.
  • Take a walk beside a body of water and think about everything you are thankful for, as this is one of Sedna’s themes. Bonus points if you can help pick up trash along this walk to show your gratitude for all the gifts that Sedna and wild, flowing water provides.
  • Create an altar to Sedna using dark blue to represent the ocean, decorate it with sea shells and Lapis Lazuli, burn Jasmine incense (this scent corresponds to water) and even place a bowl of salt water upon it. As an offering of comfort, you may also want to bring a comb for Sedna’s hair. Meditate at your altar during the full moon, as the water element flows from this lunar division. Be open to her messages, as she may challenge you to embrace your inner self and aspects from within that you normally might ignore.
homecoming into the tapestry of you

homecoming into the tapestry of you

We just completed the second week of our 3 week Earth Priestess Training in Northern Bali and each of us has had the opportunity to create a women’s circle with a theme. One of the things that has felt so alive for me during my time here is the level of embodiment that I am experiencing throughout the day. And so this was the theme I shared with my sisters, and today I’ll give you a glimpse of what I spoke about.

Your body, the vehicle you have been gifted with in this lifetime, is your access point to your life and the world around you. And so, how you inhabit that body literally influences everything.

When we are present in our bodies, we feel connected and integrated. We feel safe to experience the multitude of physical and emotional sensations that are available to us (all of them, not just the ones that we usually prefer). We have more clarity about our lives and we are better able to align with choices that feel deeply connected to the the lives we want to create.

Embodiment for me means feeling at home in my body – that I am able to connect with, notice, listen to, sense into, accept and feel everything just as it is.

Sometimes this is difficult, very difficult. There are hundreds of daily reasons to turn down the volume, to check out, to disconnect, to numb out and to disassociate. It can be very vulnerable to be fully engaged in a our world.

I am certainly not embodied every moment of every day, and having moments of tuning out is part of the human experience. But after many years in my earlier life of being disconnected, I have made a conscious commitment to show up more fully in life, to experience the rich mosaic that this experience offers. And I put in the intention and awareness to expand my threshold to be more connected each and every day.

When I’m challenged, the first thing I do is breathe. Deeply, right into my belly. I squeeze my arms and legs with my hands. I speak some words of appreciation to my body as if she is a separate and immensely valued being that deserves all my respect, love, care and acceptance. And if I can, I dance to some of my favourite music and delight in the amplification of connection and appreciation that somehow magically begins to appear with movement.

And in just a few moments, everything changes.

What do you do to feel more embodied? There are so many easy yet powerful ways to call yourself back home into your body. And I’d love to know what works for you. Just hit reply and send me a note – just this action is embodiment in action!

Holding you and your body in so much reverence.

the gifts of Artemis

the gifts of Artemis

This month in the Embracing Shakti Temple our featured embodiment of the Divine Feminine is Artemis, the Greek Goddess of the wild nature and women’s mysteriesDaughter of Zeus and twin sister to Apollo, Artemis was worshiped as the goddess of the hunt, wilderness, wild animals, the moon and chastity. She is also said to be the protector of young girls and she preferred to remain a maiden and swore to never marry.

She invites us to know that we are independent, autonomous and are to be ruled by no one but ourselves.

Immortal and powerful, Artemis’s special powers included perfect aim with her trusty bow and arrow, the ability to turn herself and others into animals, control nature and both heal and inflict disease. She is also associated with the Moon trinity which includes: Selene who rules in Heaven, Artemis who rules on Earth, and Hecate who rules the Underworld.

If you would like to evoke the energy of Artemis to connect to her magic and power, here are a few suggestions:

  • Take a nature walk during the full moon and collect bits of the wilderness that inspire you. It would be flowers, twigs, moss, etc. Then take your items and create yourself a “hunting” crown. Wear this when you want to connect more with nature and the power of the moon.
  • Do you have a wildlife sanctuary where you live? Try giving your time to their conservation or make a donation. If you don’t have these facilities around you, there are lots of animal rescues pretty much everywhere. All animals were loved and protected by Artemis.
  • Revered by the Amazon women, Artemis was often celebrated through circular dance by the mighty warriors. Gather your girls and head to the woods to pay her homage. Instead of swords and shields, bring instruments such as tambourines, cymbals, triangles. Enjoy a fire and a potluck meal. Call upon the huntress, celebrate her name and listen for her messages.

Is Artemis a goddess that you feel a special association with? Do you have a practice that connects you to her mysteries? Please head over to my Facebook page and post away!

eady to reclaim your power, love and wholeness?

eady to reclaim your power, love and wholeness?

This morning I was reading an article about Lilias Adie, a woman who was accused of witchcraft and fornicating with the devil in 1704 in Torryburn, Scotland. Like thousands of women before her, she was sentenced to burn at the stake but managed to evade this horrible death by committing suicide in her prison cell. It is a tragic and heartbreaking story.
Today women do not need to worry about being burned at the stake, but the reality is that we continue to experience daily the impact of thousands of years of patriarchal rule over our bodies, minds and emotions. For a years I felt ashamed and stuck in guilt around feeling pleasure and in honouring my desires through my sexuality. And I saw women around me everywhere experiencing the same thing.
Maybe you can relate.
But I would like to offer you a different possibility. What if we could feel free and supported by our sexual energy? What would like look like? Can you imagine for a moment what it would feel like in your blood and bones to reclaim your wholeness by connecting with your innate sexual and creative power? The power that fuels your dreams and desires?
On September 10th the Embracing Shakti Movement – a free 13 day Journey into the Feminine and Freedom begins. Each day of this virtual journey you will receive a short (less than 10 minutes) practice right to your inbox so you can feel more spaciousness, sacredness, peace and pleasure within your body, heart, and soul. You are also supported in a private online community by me, my team and an amazing group of likeminded women just like you.
The Embracing Shakti Movement was created with you in mind, for the woman who is balancing all of the many aspects of modern life – maybe raising children (or fur babies), building her career, AND desiring more space for inner-rest, reflection, pleasure and self-care.
And best of all, it is 100% FREE – a gift from my heart to yours.
Won’t you make the conscious commitment to feel more strength, spaciousness, connection and passion for life? It’s time to begin the process of positive change by saying YES to yourself! Go right now and sign up for the Embracing Shakti Movement HERE.