Click on the flyer to go to our webpage for all the details……
In the past few years, I’ve become acutely aware that we all have PTSD, whether it’s a big Trauma or a little trauma, a big Stress or a little stress. According to the American Psychiatric Association, “Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a psychiatric disorder that can occur in people who have experienced or witnessed a traumatic event such as a natural disaster, a serious accident, a terrorist act, war/combat, rape or other violent personal assault.”
But it’s not just the above scenarios that cause trauma. PTSD is a favorite collective buzz-phrase these days, as many of us refer to having PTSD when we experience some kind of stressful event in our lives. Stress is way too common now, as our personal predicaments, national atrocities, and planetary dilemmas keep increasing. We are truly in a Dark Night of the Soul as a planet. I recently spent some time again with spiritual teacher and author Andrew Harvey, who I first heard speak of our planetary crisis in a deeply meaningful way. He reminds us to navigate these times with both a spiritual connection and a choice to take action: the Sacred Activist. Otherwise, there is no meaning to our suffering, and despair is one of the shadow emotions that can creep into our lives. I have some suggestions for taking spiritual action, and as with the link above to an 8-minute video on Andrew and Sacred Activism, I will provide links to a few resources and some inspiration as we go along.
Our personal traumas can include death and suicide…are you like me and hear about someone close to you or within a few degrees of separation leaving the planet, on an almost daily basis? I am not referring to the mainstream news, which tends to highlight death and violence and can cause trauma in and of itself. I am referring to people we know or that are connected to those we know. Another form of personal trauma can be an interaction, ordeal or attack, with or from a group, a corporation, or an individual that went badly, resulting in verbal abuse, scapegoating, expulsion, or a legal situation; a divorce or separation; loss of a job, income or living situation; an illness, hospitalization, or accident (it doesn’t have to be “bad” by other people’s standards, but it can still cause trauma, pain, and loss for you); others close to you experiencing any of the above; caretaking an ill or dying loved one; a job that creates so much stress and tension it’s difficult to function; and memories of past traumatic events that are surfacing and have been unprocessed. I am constantly amazed at the unimaginable stories I hear on a daily basis. Witnessing trauma also qualifies. My personal sorrow is the way we treat animals, and if you read about or witness the abuse of an animal, like me, it might stay with you as trauma. If you do Facebook, watch TV or the news, you can be sure that you are adding more stress to your already stressful life unless you are very discriminating or are more tolerant of violence than I am.
Many people are functioning on the surface of things, fearful that the next shoe will drop and anxious about the future as if they will not be able to get through whatever surfaces. Barbara Hand Clow, a spiritual teacher, author, and astrologer, wrote a book in 2000 called Catastrophobia: The Truth Behind Earth Changes in the Coming Age of Light. She believes that as a species we carry the memory of a time 11,500 years ago when the earth experienced a great cataclysm, also called the Great Flood in Christianity, but recorded in various ways by many cultures. This memory gets played upon by the Global Elite to evoke fears about our future and future disasters. Of course, there are many reasons to believe that humanity and nature are in grave danger these days, and I will cover this in greater depth in my Collective Death Wish blog, Part 2. 2020 is upon us, named the Turning Point by Daniel Giamario, creator of Shamanic Astrology, also called the Giamario Approach. In addition to the agendas of the power brokers on planet earth, we very well may be carrying an ancient trauma within us that has not been fully processed.
My own story of PTSD this year started with the sudden death of my precious 10-year old girl-dog, Ena. But it was the getting up in the middle of the night to drive an hour to the Asheville emergency clinic and have to leave her there that haunted me nightly, and the “what ifs”, and “I should haves” that I ruminated about for 6 months afterward. I spent many nights waking up at the exact time I made the decision to take her in, and not being able to go back to sleep easily. Sleep disorders are common for many these days. I imagine that they will increase in collective humanity until we can find better ways to fully process our traumas, and come home to ourselves. The Medical Medium Anthony William says that we can lose parts of our heart, our spirit or our soul and that healing any of these aspects of ourselves takes acceptance and time.
A month or so after Ena left, I had an experience with a neighbor and his son, who have a collection of beautiful German Shepherds that are confined in a small space. I hear them regularly and am always sending out healing light to them. There seems to always be one who cries out, and upon asking the young man who owns them, I learned, “they get a little aggressive at feeding time”. I brought them a bag of treats once and asked him to consider re-homing the one who gets beat up, but that was an affront to his ego and I received a negative response. After that, I either called on the phone when I had a concern or emailed the roofing company where the dogs live. One night after hearing one of the dogs crying for a straight 24-hour period, I emailed and asked them to please help this dog to feel better. A day or so later I heard one gunshot, and never heard that dog cry again. We live in the heart of the Smoky Mountains, and as beautiful and safe as my life is, there are those around us with values that are not mine, and who live very differently. As much as it broke my heart, I chose to process this with the belief that this dog was obviously unloved and is now in a better place. I asked the Goddess to bring her/him a next incarnation that was loving and kind. It took a while, but because of my spiritual connection, I was able to let it go.
I am one who cannot watch violence on TV. I have been this way since I was a child. I could not watch the old 50’s cowboy and Indian movies, and as an adult, I have turned off or walked out of many films. I do not understand why we are subject to so much violence except as a way to condition us to tolerate it. In my case, I love the Outlander series; the characters, the story, Scotland (I am 49% Scotch-Irish and have had many lifetimes there), but the violence gets to me. I have gotten through all 4 seasons while I pace around my round house trying to avoid the violence as much as possible, so I can get back to the story! My own assessment is that I have experienced lots of past life violence. I had an early past-life recall of being a female spy from the North in the Civil war. I was shot and had the memory of it bleed through my dreams for years. My present lifetime has not been violent, so it demonstrates to me that we can bring these traumas with us. We can also bring trauma through our lineage, our parents, grandparents and beyond. I have worked with many clients who have unexplained trauma, and when we work together, it is amazing how other lifetimes and our ancestors’ experiences can come through. I have learned through the years that any story is possible, and all stories are valuable and healing. We can choose to open to the very real possibility that we can heal our past, our present, and heal heart, soul, and spirit.
One of the ways I cope with my stress is that I have a wonderful leaderless women’s group I meet with on a regular basis. We listen, receive and support all of what each other is experiencing in our individual lives without judgment and mostly without feedback. You might do the same: find a place you can share on a regular basis, and if there is none, create your own group. It may take some time, but I bet you can find a handful of like-minded souls who would love the same kind of support. My partner Joe has the same thing: a small men’s group where support, mutual trust, and confidentiality is cultivated, honored and respected.
The axiom that God-dess only gives us what we can handle is really being tested now. We are in need of support and coping strategies to hold ourselves and to hold each other up. I am reminded of a Jenny Bird song that I have used in many of my circles called We Hold Up Each Other. She says “..there are spaces of exuberance, moments of reprieve until another tragedy cracks us open and we grieve. How do we stay emblazoned, tenaciously endure? We hold up each other.“
Here’s a suggestion: Look back on your 2019, and simply recognize the stressors you have experienced. List them. Perhaps you might categorize some of them as PTSD because they have felt diminishing in some way as if you have lost something. Perhaps your heart was broken or it closed down, and you lost some of your heart. Perhaps your life-force and inspiration were a bit extinguished and you lost some of your spirit, or perhaps you chose not to fully be present in your life, you want to leave, and you lost some of your soul. I encourage you to resist the notions that you are being negative, making things up, feeling sorry for yourself, that your situation is not that bad or others have it worse than you, you have no reason to complain, etc. This is just our cultural conditioning that tells us to minimize and repress our pain, keep a brave face, a stiff upper lip, and by all means don’t cry or show your vulnerability. Once you have listed everything that has happened in your life this year, sit down with a good friend and tell them your story. You may find it healing and rejuvenating to admit to another how much you have been through. Be sure and admit to them and yourself that you are brave, still standing and that you deserve good things. Find some ways to give yourself some nurturing, self-care and celebrate yourself!
If you desire some expertise in working through a trauma, or a series of them in your life, consider my personal intensives. I schedule several of them a year, in my home, when I am not traveling or participating in another project. And, if you want more inspiration and resources for working with stress, listen to my recent 40-minute interview on The Power of Inner Connection Summit called Ceremony and the Sacred.
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
If there is one thing I know….
It’s that WOMEN will lead the next revolution.
Men. It is time to be humble allies to the rise of the strong feminine. That healing will serve all of us, and it is necessary now more than ever. By working together.
“My Revolution Lives in my Body”
Written by Eve Ensler, Performed by Rosario Dawson
Now that we’ve fully entered this New Age of Aquarius, it’s time to reclaim our Divine Feminine power as she’s been hiding in the Underworld far too long.
By Anyaa McAndrew & Sahara Exodus
There appears to be a variety of ways that we are living our lives in 2013. I received a newsletter from a spiritual teacher a few weeks ago that really spelled it out for me. Some of us are busily living the old story, some of us are busy finishing up writing the old story, some are in the Sacred Pause, some of us have begun to catch & ride the Co-Creative Wave, and some of us are actually writing the New Story.
When it comes to women and our body images, our sensuality, our ability & willingness to receive pleasure in our bodies, and our sexuality, the New Story is directly connected to the Divine Feminine within us. If we can relate to the Great Mother, to Gaia, the Goddess in any way, shape or form, we may have a better chance at getting to the New Story. The old stories are really old, ancient in fact. We have been victims of violence, war, poverty and discrimination for 5,000 years. The V-day “One Billion Rising” to mitigate violence against women and girls that happened worldwide on February 14th, 2013 was probably the largest event of its kind ever. Continue reading “Moving the Feminine into the New Sensual~Sexual Story”