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Letting Go and Moving On: A Shamanic Initiation of the Heart
by Anyaa McAndrew
A few weeks ago, I made a life decision: to let go of a certain kind of work I have been offering to the world since early 2000. It is clear to me that this is a crossroads I have been facing for the past few years, yet every time I facilitated a Shamanic Priestess circle, I was so inspired by the consciousness of the women who stepped forward, and the quality of the work we did together, that I kept saying, “Ok, one more year….”. Years ago I had the opportunity to do what so many others do; to put my work into an on-line format, but the Goddess said “no, it needs to be in-person….too much would be lost in the translation.” So, I kept beating the drum, and the women came, and those who wanted to apprentice, and take this work into their own lives came, and I continued to feel on-purpose.
Now, finally, the time has come, as I move into the winter of my life, to pull in my energy from the temple of the world that has been the way we priestesses walk, and let others carry it on. The Divine Feminine has been seeded by me, and by hundreds and thousands of women worldwide, some self-proclaimed as priestesses and bravely declaring it, and some who have clearly walked the path of the sacred woman of wisdom in quiet solo ways. I honor the priestess in all of us, as my teacher Nicole Christine did. So many of us have been on assignment to do this work! I lay down the path I have carved….through the density of the patriarchy….in these most chilling and challenging of times. I have one last circle~retreat I am facilitating here in early April at my Isis Cove Community here in the Smoky Mountains, and I am anticipating a pretty powerful end-cap to these past 20 years!
Our beautiful Medicine Wheel is our Earth Temple on Dove Mountain. Consisting of 37 stones, each weighing about 1000-2000lbs, the Medicine Wheel has been used for weddings, vision quests and all night ceremonies. Seekers come to this site to connect with healing energies of earth, their ancestors and animal totems. The Medicine Wheel on Dove Mountain is a powerful place to visit and re-member who it is you came here to be.
We will do some of our priestess ceremonies here.
I am a psychotherapist and an astrologer, so I have been tracking my own initiation cycles, wondering what my next soul purpose might be. In my mind I was dreaming of deeper relaxation and renewal. But now I feel my soul may have another agenda. I returned home in late February (less than a week ago as I write this) and woke up the next morning to an email about the end of the annual 6-month dolphin hunt in Japan, and I opened it. I rarely do this because I get so emotionally triggered, but I was compelled to thoroughly read about this recent carnage to dolphins. I believe as others do, that dolphons and whales never intended to be food for humans when they came here, but to carry a certain kind of consciousness from our origins in the stars. Some animals seem to be from the stars, as my Westie Lily was, and some are more connected to the earth. It seems to be the same with us humans. I found myself exploding with grief, so took it to our exquisite community Medicine Wheel, created by Venus Rising. I recently read a incredible book by my priestess sister Toby Evans called Dead But Not Gone: Are You Part of the Soul-Bridge to Guide Them Home? In that moment I wondered if perhaps I was a soul-bridge for animals. I carry a compassion for animals, including my own fur-kids, that goes beyond ordinary compassion. So, in the rain, I ceremonially walked the Medicine Wheel three times counter-clockwise to open the center as a portal for these dolphins, honoring them, the directions, the ancestors, calling in their Oversouls, and all dolphins and whales who needed a soul-bridge to ascend to their next level of evolution. When I completed, my partner Joe and I noticed that the rain intensified for a few minutes. I considered this an omen.
9 years ago we brought Ena home from a rescue organization in KY
Very early Saturday morning about 2 am, my 10-yr old Cairn Terrier girl Ena, went into a mysterious and severe healing crisis that caused me to drive an hour through the mountains, to an emergency vet hospital where I had to leave her overnight. We noticed a few symptoms earlier in the day but nothing like this. Earlier on Friday, I started her on some natural medicines till we could get to her vet on Monday. I walked the Medicine Wheel the next day in the same way, this time asking for a miracle, or to open a portal for her release. I was informed later that day that Ena was in serious condition with no clear path to recovery. Joe, Prince my boy-dog and I drove back to Asheville soon after, and with the help of our animal healer Tammy Billups energetically connecting to her in a way so familiar to Ena, we assisted her in crossing over the Rainbow Bridge. It was a compassionate, heartbreaking, and courageous experience for all of us, especially Ena and me. It all happened in about 14 hours, barely enough time to say good-bye. Many of you know very well from your own experiences with your four-legged Beloveds (and your human Beloveds) how heart-wrenching this is. We are in a deep quiet grief at my house, where Ena was, as Joe says, “the life of the party”. We brought her body home with us for closure: for us, our other animals and her human friends. The next day Lindi and Joe cermonially wrapped her in blankets, and with eleven of us circled up, and one dog attending, we buried her behind the garden. We will plant flowers soon, when I can find my way to celebrating Spring.
She has a beautifully carved wooden headstone to mark her grave, created by Ray, a generous community member.
I had no idea that the universe would need to take my Ena-girl when I committed to finding a new purpose, but I understand in the great cycle of things that this heart-wrenching-open initiation is likely a part of it all. It will take me some time to fully integrate and it will take some commitment to keep my heart fully open. And, as I initiate and ordain several new priestesses soon, I will be completing a heart intiation into a new and as yet uncharted phase of my life. Thank you for reading my story. My hope is that it touches your heart, and renews your reverence for all life, and awakens the Sacred Witness within you.
a heart-opening charmer of a dog –
I hope where you’re going,
there are plenty of squirrels,
imaginary and real
for you to chase,
and treats to eat that can’t be beat.
and plenty of hands to nuzzle under,
plenty of hearts to melt,
plenty of princes to provoke,
and forever fresh reminders
of just how deeply you are loved.
I am but one of many who will miss you,
your bark, your tender feistiness, your sulky shyness,
your morning glee, your irrepressible spirit,
just having you there to greet me, not just with
unconditional love, but also
with boundless enthusiasm…
is a gift beyond measure.
It’s enough to break down any wall, any barrier, any block to love…
How exactly is that you do this magic?
Even now, as your body lies still in that flimsy cardboard box,
you touch the hearts of everyone in this circle,
radiating outward farther than eyes can see,
something so beautiful,
that we can only smile as we cry in its passing,
dear Ena Bodina,
thank you for touching my life with your paw.
by Joe Landwehr 3/3/19
There is a Karen Taylor-Good song that we use in the Shamanic Priestess Process™ called Use Me Up, that goes like this: “ When I meet my maker and my time on earth is done, when I stand before Her (word change mine) looking back on where I’ve come, I can only pray that with Her grace and love, She will say,” I used you up”. Use me up, let me give everything I am, pour out my heart and soul according to your plan. Use me up, let there be nothing of me left, no chance to love untaken, not one regret.”
As we move into the 2nd half or even the last 3rd or 4th of our lives, seasoned women of consciousness, what I am calling The Shamanic WiseWoman, know that time is now precious to give our remaining gifts to the world, to “use up” our time here fulfilling our purpose, telling our stories and leaving our own unique legacy. Our spice and seasoning comes from years of hard knocks, tough lessons, and dark nights of the soul, and as equally from the joyful celebrations, pleasures and adventures of our lives.
We are intended to honor the gifts we have already given, and the thresholds already crossed, so that we can gain the energy to renew ourselves again and again. In the holy spaces we can create together as sacred women, we can rise from the ashes of old wounds and old ways, and consecrate our lives toward new ways of offering ourselves in service to our world which can so greatly benefit from our wisdom.
I am thoroughly enjoying walking as a WiseWoman these days, but that was not so until recently. I have been an eternal youth most of my life, choosing not to have children and instead focus on my sacred work and my “freedom” to be eccentric and forge new trails. I have been discovering new facets of myself as I embrace my wisdom and care less about self-image, accomplishment and achievement. Through all the twists and turns of my life, I have indeed cultivated the mother energy within me. Now she is becoming the grandmother! I am also discovering a new kind of spiritual sensitivity, a profound connection to the animal kingdom, and a deepening connection to my own inner mate.
These revelations were not available to me in younger versions of self. I am able to be more present-centered, less distracted by the glamours of the world, as I drop into the last cycles of my life. I no longer have goals, because I want to follow more of what inspires me and less of what drives me. Because I encounter it more often, I am drawn to explore the mysteries of death these days, and I look forward to doing this with a strong circle of strong women.
Are you eager to engage your own inner WiseWoman? Do you savor the experience of a women’s circle? Are you willing to ceremonially integrate your life lessons so far? Are you ready to concentrate your life force on your sacred soul purpose, even as you move toward befriending the death mysteries?
We (Mary Manera, me, and Jacoba Groenwegen) completed our first session October 19th-23th at Isis Cove Community NC, as the Smoky Mountains were on fire with autumn color. For those who could not make the October session, we will repeat this first session in Cincinatti Feb 23-26th, 2017. Then we will form a committed circle to go forward to the Cincinnati in late April and complete in late June. An application process ensures you are resonate with where we are going, and you will be a huge part of the evolution of the Shamanic WiseWoman Process™.
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McAndrew, MA, LPC, NCC is an Ordained High Priestess, and a congregational leader of Full Moon Sanctuary. She is dedicated to the path of the Divine Feminine, facilitating women’s awakening and empowerment for the past 40 years. She is the creatrix of the Shamanic Priestess Process, the Shamanic Magdalane Mysteries and retreats, workshops and processes for women. For more, visit www.goddessontheloose.com
Marianne Williamson speaking on women and religion at the Parliament of World’s Religions, in October 2015, Salt Lake City Utah.
Marianne’s voice is clearly becoming more powerful as she moves even more directly into her wise woman, sacred activist, priestess self…..the Goddess and this goddess, is fierce! And it’s about time that these words be spoken….thank you Marianne, for speaking on behalf of the herstory of women in patriarchal religions, and the priestess within all of us.
“A river of tears is one of the strongest evidences of a ‘crash and burn’ initiation into the Scar Clan.”–Clarissa Pinkola Estes