This month I had the fortunate opportunity to attend a Shaman Conference themed “Manifesting Bridges of Impossible Love” to both participate and present my work on Self-Marriage. This gathering, the 7th Annual Shamanic Conference hosted by the Sacred Circle of Great Mystery Shamanic Society, was an incredibly rich, creative and transformative experience led by Jean-Luke Edwards, shaman and holder of the Seanair of Sagh’ic Tire Dhream Tradition.
I knew next to nothing about the conference, and honestly, although I had spent time preparing my own workshop, I barely had a chance to tune into the meaning or significance of this gathering. Having never been to Canada, knowing almost no one except Stephanie and one lovely shaman lady I met here in Portland, Lauri Shainsky, a local shamanic sound healer, I felt like a newbie, a beginner. Entering into such a sacred and wildly creative gathering with a fresh mind was wonderful, so open and revealing.
Christina Pratt, founder of Last Mask Center for shamanic healing in Portland opened the workshops for the week. That morning, she said something that struck a deep chord in me. We were practicing journeying to the essence energies of Love or Wisdom, Virtue and Beauty. She remarked on Virtue, mentioning that in the Taoist sense this means ‘standing at the threshold.’
Standing at the threshold…at the threshold…the threshold. I can definitely relate to this.
I have found my entire life has been a series of thresholds, to stand in that place of the unknown and face the mystery over and over again. Often unwanted, often terrified by the wildness that accompanies the opening of one’s heart in such a way. Yet, it is becoming a bit more familiar in passing years. In other words, I’m getting used to this outrageous yet blessing filled method of leaping and building my wings on the way down. Blessons: blessings with the lessons over and over again.
The conference was titled Tree and Star: A Calling for Reconciliation and was a gathering to manifest bridges of impossible love. This theme spoke to me so deeply. In the last two and a half years, since my journey to India to do a Self-Marriage ceremony, my life has changed irrevocably and has been an incredible process of stepping up to that threshold and annihilating my identity and selves.
When I returned from India, I was in a place of wellness and deep, deep content. My heart was wide open to the world in utter wonder, just dancing in pure joy along that threshold. I had returned to a thirteen year long relationship that was wearing thin. In that state of openness I met someone else who fueled me into even deeper stages of love, to explore all corners of my soul, my creativity and my passion.
After falling in love with myself, I opened up to falling in love with someone new.
My family dynamic changed drastically, I explored a completely new and different kind of love, I spent months apart from my daughter trying to navigate my new life. Moving through those life changes was like being on a river with unpredictable currents. I faced the storms of anger, rage and betrayal that can follow a huge break up and the huge transition of moving my entire life from my beloved Big Island to Portland, Oregon.
Walking through a new city, with almost no friends, alone, my lover gone, facing the seemingly insurmountable mountain of change and hearing the wild whistling of trains and urban sounds pressing down, the ache of concrete over land, the sounds of rushing cars, desperately seeking a place to live, I remembered what one teacher told me:
Enlightenment is a demolition project.
Indeed it is. There is no doubt in my mind that one of the more powerful unfoldings of my life began with my own Self-Marriage in September of 21012. Stepping more firmly onto my path, opening to presence was the fuel for my journey to say vows to myself. Sitting inside an ancient Yogini temple on the far flung Eastern corner of India, I said vows with a few witnesses to honor my soul’s path and growth. I entered the threshold, I was initiated onto my path. I wrote about it Self-Marriage at elephant journal and I even filmed it!
My first self-marriage vow was to call back all parts of myself and since then I have been doing just that. Old selves and parts have been showing up and re-integrating. This was indeed a new beginning of a deep and powerful reconciliation process with myself and my life’s work on earth.
So you can imagine, the invitation to present my work at a conference in which the theme was to manifest bridges of impossible love was timely and poignant. I was invited by Stephanie Mills, who attended a day long Fire of the Goddess Retreat on the Big Island of Hawaii a few years ago. She was moved by my work which led to an interview me on the Forked Stick Podcast and an invitation to their yearly gathering. See here to listen to my interview!
The entire week of this Shamanic Conference was about stepping into that place, that threshold of impossible love. To reconcile all parts of ourselves over and over again. To really deeply witness that we are all reflections of one another and the binding force is indubitably, LOVE.
I walked across burning coals, my prayer for impossible love burning in my heart to the fire, to the stars that shown above reminding us of our ancestors and our descendants.
I participated in Peruvian death rites, releasing my energy body and dying to learn the art of death and rebirth, wherein the power of healing lies for each of us.
I offered a workshop on Self-Marriage in which we explored aspects of loving our selves, the inner Beloved, the inner marriage of the sacred feminine and masculine. The participants wrote vows to themselves and said them outside in soft air, wearing vivid reds and dedicating themselves to practice self-love.
Self-marriage is powerful and radical and it changes us. It is a choice to not only stand at the threshold, but to create the threshold itself so that we are empowered to move forward and truly manifest bridges of impossible love.
I am currently offering my services to help you design their own self-marriage and call back all parts of yourself. This connects you to your divine purpose, to your place on earth and helps to heal your relations. Contact me if you wish to create a ceremony!