Personal, Review

Opening to 5 Feminine Archetypes with ReWilding for Women

I wasn’t sure whether to write this blog and before beginning to type anything at all, I found myself staring at a blank screen, taking in deep breaths all the way to my root, as I do at the beginning of any ReWilding workshop or gathering. I am sure I want to share my experiences with different therapies and healing modalities with the world, just as I have already done so once on this blog already. I’m also massively unsure about sharing my super personal experience with ReWilding’s free workshop, for very good reason.

I took part in the 5 Faces of the Feminine, and it got a little bit mad.

I discovered ReWilding when I was added to their phenomenally large Facebook group by a healer from Manchester I’ve yet to work with. This group is home to over 30,000 women, making it the largest social media group I’ve ever been in and these numbers alone certainly got my attention.

At first glance, reading through posts, I couldn’t really be sure what ReWilding was all about. It’s a group for spiritual women, that much was immediately obvious, but I didn’t know if I’d find any use for it. I decided to dive in and get to know the community by making my first post in the group. I then, out of curiosity, signed up to receive ReWilding newsletters from the main website, where I received my free gift; the workshop.

I found myself too busy to get stuck into the workshop right away, but in early November, I sat in a restaurant in London, dating myself as I’ve grown accustomed to in recent months, plugged in my headphones and watched the first 15 minutes of the first module as I waited on my food. I couldn’t deny that I was sceptical of the whole thing, while being unexpectedly excited as I watched ReWilding’s founder Sabrina Lynn talk about what I could expect from this workshop.

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Sabrina Lynn Domenosky

Some people just captivate you. Some people seem to speak to directly to your soul. Sometimes, people appear in your life that you just feel are absolutely meant for you, in ways you can’t really explain. You just feel it, with every fibre of your being. Down to every last cell in my body, I had fallen head over heels in (platonic) love with Sabrina Lynn. It was suddenly easily to see how she’d built such a large community and I knew I was going to be staying.

It took me over a month to get on with completing the workshop and when I was done, I sat staring at my journal wide-eyed, calculating when would be the right time to buy access to a workshop that takes me deeper into the ReWilding method.

The workshop consists of 3 short modules and is a very brief, introductory experience into opening up to feminine archetypes or Goddesses. This is about invoking deities and opening up to and stepping into your “wholeness” as a woman. This is spiritual healing and all about reclaiming your power. It’s re-wilding!

It doesn’t matter how many extraordinary experiences I’ve had throughout my life and how much I believe in the extraordinary, my experiences with cold reader psychics alone is enough to make me cautious when approaching anything out of the ordinary. I began the first practice, not so much not knowing what to expect, but not really expecting anything at all to happen!

And then something did happen. And it was a mental struggle to keep myself detached from stories and ideas about what I was experiencing, and just let myself experience it. It was important to me to not attach to the stories I wrote to describe what was happening, but I certainly made note of the ideas that came up. I tried to approach this workshop mindfully, just observing the results of each invocation, and then writing it down in my journal, without judgement.

If you haven’t ever taken the workshop and think you’d like to try it, stop reading my blog now. I have concerns that describing my own experiences will then influence yours and that’s what you don’t need. You want to experience something authentic and get the best of this very brief workshop. You can come back later to read about how I got on and compare your experience to my own.

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Hekate

1. Opening up to the Medicine Woman: Hekate

In the first module, I’m called to invite Hekate and take in her energy. As the exercise began, it was time to let go of scepticism and just do as I was told. After all, as a witch, this isn’t entirely new to me, so why all the scepticism?

This particular exercise however, was not something I’d done before. Sure, I’ve called on Hekate, but in the past I called with different intentions. This time, I was calling for Hekate to nourish me, standing in my living room, picturing roots growing from my feet and focusing on my ritual. This time, I was trying to merge with her energy so I could be my true, whole self. And this was where things got rather immediately, unexpectedly bizarre.

I became insufferably hot. I was absolutely boiling in my perfectly cool, comfortable living room. I felt breathless. I was suffering! I felt like I couldn’t stand up. I just wanted to drop to the floor. My instant reaction, of course, was panic. My mind raced with questions such as “why can’t I breathe?” and “why can’t I stand up?”

Almost amusingly, I forgot for a moment that I am, for the most part, perfectly able-bodied and normally can stand up. I forgot this doesn’t usually happen in any meditations I ever do. I’d only been stood there a minute, but for some reason instead of thinking that what was happening was a result of the ritual, I actually thought for a second that there was something seriously wrong with me. I thought I’d became ill. I thought that maybe I was dying.

I continued burning up and struggling to breathe. I was keeling over and all I wanted to do was drop to the ground, when suddenly a thought popped into my head that it was perfectly okay to drop to the ground and that in fact, that’s what she wanted. A weird thought, I noted, but I thought “yes! I need to connect my root (chakra) to the ground and get closer to her.”

So, I dropped. And I began to cool down. I began to rock back and forth and then my body naturally began twisting and spiralling. I could hear Sabrina talking to me through the video in the background. I could hear her discussing that we may have “old wounds” attached to the Medicine Woman.

This is the stuff we literally got burned at the stake for.

~ Sabrina Lynn Domenosky

And, “Holy shit,” I thought. “I was experiencing a memory of being burned at the stake for witchcraft?”

It made too much sense. It felt too accurate.

Telling myself again not to attach to this idea, but to simply note it, I ended the practice stunned and shook to my core. I also felt amazing! I was certain I needed to continue these practices and that more is to come from Hekate in the future.

2. The Dark Goddess: Kali

Back to my usual scepticism again, despite my incredibly shocking experience the day before, I stepped into opening up to Kali. This practice once again dictated that I should stand and I couldn’t help but be concerned I was going to get knocked off my feet again.

I simply stood, invited her and waited, observing the experience keenly.

“Nothing’s going to happen.” I thought.

And I certainly didn’t have a crazy experience like I’d had the day before. I had no trouble standing whatsoever and I didn’t burn up or lose my breath. The experience was so subtle and something that could so easily have just been my mind running away with itself, that it was much easier to not attach myself to any stories. However, it was important to make a note of what I did experience and I was still shocked once the practice was over.

I caught a glimpse of a wolf, not a Goddess, in my minds eye. It dived straight at me and tore my throat out. That was rather alarming. Then I weirdly felt that I was being commanded to kneel, so I did so, quite frankly shitting myself at this point. I had no idea if my wonderfully vivid imagination was playing tricks on me, or I was genuinely experiencing something.

As I knelt and waited, eyes closed, I again thought I saw the wolf, wrapping it’s jaws around my head. My head was hurting. I had a genuine headache. Then I either saw, or felt, the wolf inside me and it’s face came tearing out of my own face.

Completely unsure now whether I’d gone mad entirely, I ended the practice realising that I’d now had two experiences that you could in no way describe as pleasant ones. And yet there I was, feeling oddly accomplished with this idea that “that totally needed to happen. I needed that.”

From Sabrina’s description of what Kali may do for me and my own ideas, I sort of felt I was being shown that my mind really needs a good goddamn rewrite.

3. The Mother: Gaia

Finally, with The Mother, an experience that was not terrifying in the moment. I led on the floor, waiting for Gaia’s embrace and I couldn’t deny that I did feel like I was being held, in a very non-physical, non-corporeal sort of way.

As we’d gotten further into November, I seemed to have been slipping further into a very dark, low mood. I’ve never been diagnosed with Seasonal Affective Disorder and I’m pretty sure I don’t experience this every year, but it seemed almost like I was suddenly suffering. And through my spiritual Facebook groups, I discovered thousands of people seem to be suffering in the exact same way I am.

All of a sudden, out of nowhere, we have all lost our motivation and something as simple as washing the dishes looks like climbing Mount Everest.

You can call it depression. But, last year I knew this year was going to be a major one for me and I’ve started looking at all of it with suspicion. I started to be less sceptical about this matter and supposed I am experiencing a Dark Night of The Soul that my sister might not even remember she had warned me was coming in her oracle reading for me earlier in the year. My own tarot readings, though I could only translate them vaguely, certainly predicted this and insisted what was coming was out of my control.

It’s a Master Number 11 year, and here I am, writing this post on the winter solstice of 2018. I never strictly believed in astrology and how planetary alignment affected people. I never cared for numerology and I suppose despite practising witchcraft my whole life, I kept my beliefs and ideas as vague and light as possible. But here I am, at the end of this very important year and I feel like everything I’m going through might be one final big push, or shift, to complete whatever it was I’d started in January.

I pleaded with Gaia for some help as I led on the floor. I begged her to take away my pain, my sadness, my despair, my longing and neediness and lack of motivation and I led there waiting.

She didn’t take these things away, but I still ended the practice feeling supported.

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Gaia

4. The Warrior: Athena

My Grandmother is Greek-Cypriot and Greek mythology and the study of Ancient Greece was, without a doubt, among my favourite subjects at school. I step into the practice excited instead of sceptical, but as was my experiences with Gaia and Kali, the whole thing was rather subtle.

As I’m not experienced with yoga and have a painful condition with my joints, this practice was actually difficult as I had to maintain a yoga pose that I don’t have the strength to maintain for as long as the practice requires. But the thought arose that it was okay to step in and out of the warrior pose. I’ll never know if I was being reassured by Athena, or by myself, but I felt pulled to step into warrior and then I’d be extending my fists, and then I’d be flexing my muscles.

I was suddenly moving like I was in the middle of a Taekwondo class and it just felt so right. It felt like I was supposed to be doing it. And despite being a little weakling that can’t maintain the most simple of yoga poses for a few minutes, I felt pretty damn good as I moved around.

Several thoughts popped into my mind: I am strong; I am a warrior; I am fine; I am ready and, finally, I am “on path”.

So, I thought, “The Dark Night of The Soul is exactly where I’m supposed to be at right now.” And then I reminded myself that I wasn’t going to be attaching to the stories.

5: The Love Goddess: Lalita

Alright. So, I’d gone from a pretty mind-blowing experience in the first module, to all these subtle ones in the second. I was starting to doubt my first experience as anything special. Was this all a load of rubbish?

I sat disheartened as Sabrina explained this final particular Goddess can be a particularly difficult one to open up to. She said something about the door or window to Lalita being a very narrow one. Slightly pissed off, I shuffled into position to begin the practice and tried to empty myself and open to the experience.

(Sidenote: The meaning of my name, April, is “to open”)

For me, this one was all about breath. I was breathing as deep as I could, intent on sucking in as much energy as possible. I needed to fill my chakras one by one.

And as I did so, my body started to rock. My back began to arch and with each chakra I focused on filling, my back would arch more until I couldn’t go any further. This was me letting go and allowing my body to do what it wanted, instead of telling my body what to do and it felt pretty darn good.

Next thing I know, I’m spinning. I don’t know why, but I am spinning around and waving my arms up and down, certain I am pulling Lalita’s energy up and filling my entire body and aura with her love and light. I felt like I was waving away “bad stuff”. The entire practice felt blissful and even almost sensual. I, of course, ended worrying again for a moment that I might have gone completely mad, but did it really matter if for just a few minutes I felt so bloody good?

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Shiva

6. The Final module: Shiva and Lalita

I was not at all sad to learn my final module involved trying to open to Lalita again, but I was sceptical (how many times can I say this word in one post?). This last module is about opening up to the masculine. It’s important, of course, to balance your feminine and masculine according to spiritual circles.

I realised the last 2 modules felt empowering, but I also realised there was part of me that doubted even my most amazing and undeniably extraordinary life experiences (more on those another time).

Trying to open to Shiva felt difficult at first. I was looking for a stillness I’m completely familiar with thanks to my mindfulness training, but there was a restlessness in me I couldn’t shake off at first. When I finally found it, another one of those weird thoughts jumped into my mind:

“Shiva is holding me.”

A split second later, Sabrina is telling me to invite Lalita, and I’m thinking, “but I’m not ready, I only just found Shiva.”

According to my body, I was completely ready.

I started to move again. I started to feel, as I had done the day before, energy rising in me and I couldn’t help but feel that Shiva continued to hold me throughout. My body started to dance and my hips started to rock. I almost dread admitting this, but my hips rocked as if I was making love to thin air. It was both bizarre and once again, felt pretty darn good.

Then, I startled myself by moaning. And then I did it again. And then I started thinking “what the FUCK is happening?”

This was sexual. There wasn’t really any denying it. I was experiencing sexual energy that had me moaning out loud (pretty damn loudly) twice, and I didn’t even know if I even really believed in this stuff half the time.

The workshops exercise ended very abruptly, thankfully. I think if I’d have gone on for much longer things would have got pretty weirdly heavy in a way I didn’t think was humanly possible.

But my interest in taking Tantra classes, which was already pretty high, has suddenly doubled. Or tripled. In fact, it’s probably increased to infinity amounts and I can’t bloody wait for the New Year. I’ll certainly be signing up to more ReWilding workshops and maybe finally booking into that Tantra class I’ve had my eye on!

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A Romance with My Recovery

This is the longest I’ve been single since I was a teenager. 

I never knew just how much I needed and would value this time alone. My last attempt at a serious relationship only ended a year ago and I can still remember how crushed I felt that things hadn’t worked out again.

For a little while, my main concerns were whether or not I’d ever meet anybody again and whether I’d ever feel truly in love. I worried that maybe I just wasn’t relationship material. I wondered if I ever really was. I told myself, with a sinking heart,  that perhaps nobody will ever love me again.

Talking to my friend, Donna, about my relationship woes over the last Christmas period, she strongly advised me to take time for myself. She reminded me that I hadn’t had that – not really – for a long time and that I need to learn to love myself again.

I didn’t know what else to do, but to take her advice seriously, so I began to try.

Fast-forward several months, and not only had I been diving into every self love self-help workshop I could find, but I was slowly starting to live my life exactly how I always wanted to.

I started focusing on all of the dreams and goals I’d been mulling over for years. I started to achieve things I kept putting off because it was never the right time or because I kept finding bad excuses.

I was learning that loving myself meant understanding myself and managing negative thought patterns that had me getting in my own way. I realised loving myself is about being true to my real self. But first, I’d have to get to know myself again.

It’s amazing how much of yourself you can lose in relationships if you’re not careful.

Alone, silently
the bamboo shoot
becomes a bamboo

– Santoka

I had a feeling when I turned 29 in 2017, that 2018 and turning 30 would herald some sort of major transformation for me and that’s exactly what this year has been about.

I had been through my fair share of trauma and had never taken any time to recover, thinking I could just stuff things down and keep on moving. Yet, I wasn’t really moving at all because I placed no importance whatsoever on healing past hurts.

I never considered that I shouldn’t date anybody until I’d dealt with myself properly. It didn’t seem logical to let someone pass me by if we liked each other. But my relationships, good or bad, were partly what was distracting me from doing the important stuff.

I wasn’t even living the life I want and parts of my twenties had dissolved into some sort of sad blur.

The truth is, I probably will meet someone again, I probably will love again and of course I’m relationship material; I got married once already, didn’t I? But there’s no rush. I stopped being concerned about romance months ago and I’m so happy with the way things are right now. I can focus entirely on my son and recovering whatever I’d lost.

This last year has seen me gaining qualifications that help me towards my career goals. I’ve gone back to my spiritual roots and stopped pretending to be someone else to avoid ridicule. I started setting goals, writing bucket-lists, facing fears, forcing myself out of my comfort zone and even decided to follow one of my dreams, literally.

Some time earlier this year, I discovered a London-based rock band on Instagram. I can’t ever get enough of music, so I always tend to check out the bands that fall into my lap and I enjoyed this band enough that I immediately bought every song I could get my hands on.

That band was Romances – an appropriate moniker for the five musicians who unknowingly became part of my journey of self love and healing!

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Romances at The Monarch, Camden, 7th August 2018 – photo by James Canavan

I was casually enjoying their music from time to time to begin with and thought to myself that maybe I’d see them live some day. Then all of a sudden, I started having dreams of going to watch them play.

After the first dream, I remember waking up thinking it must have been because I’d watched one of their videos on social media. But then the dreams kept happening, once or twice a week, and at first I was a bit confused. I hadn’t listened to them that much, but I seemed to be their biggest fan in my sleep.

As strange as it may sound, my dreams of Romances putting on an awesome show are what got me more invested and listening more to the band. I certainly wanted to see them play, but deep down I was sure that no matter how much I told myself I would go, I’d probably never get around to it.

I’m always seeing shows and events I want to go to, but I’ve never gone because a lot of my friends are usually busy or simply uninterested in the music I enjoy. Music is the most important form of art in my life, yet I’d rarely been to see bands play live.

Though I spent a lot of time in London when I was dating my ex and was more than accustomed to travelling there alone, I’d never gone on a ‘night out’ alone. I’ve travelled as far as America alone, but I’d never been to a pub or club on my own and the thought of it just seemed terrifying!

Wouldn’t I look like a total loser, lingering around with no friends to accompany me? Wouldn’t it be dangerous?

I would have pushed it all to the back of mind, but then, Romances released their first single, Parallels. Soon after, the famous American singer Billy Ray Cyrus was telling his fans to “check out” the song. By this point, I was familiar with the band members names, extremely impressed with their talent and had watched every video they uploaded to social media.

I was turning into what my ex described as a “Romances super-fan” just like I was in my dreams. And of course, the dreams continued.

It is a positive sign to dream of a band or musical group playing live music. It usually refers to a good level of spirituality in your life, which brings you a lot of inner peace and contentment.

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I wondered if the dreams meant something and it occurred to me that maybe I just needed to go! I had so many fears surrounding going out alone, being seen alone and getting into some sort of trouble, that I realised that perhaps a trip to London was exactly what my soul had ordered.

If you want a better life, it’s no good staying constraints of your comfort zone, hanging onto pointless fears! Life is about growing, changing and doing new things. If I could get on a plane to fly to America all by myself, I could probably take a trip to the pub alone, even if it did require several hours travelling.

I’ve spent much of my adult life not going to see bands I really wanted to see because my mind was always coming up with a hundred bad reasons not to.

I finally went for the first time in August, despite the nerves. I had quite a lot of fun alone in London. I did meet with my ex briefly, seeing him for the first time since we split. He joined me for two drinks and then left, with me free to do whatever I wanted and not have to worry about anybody else all night.

I made a friend at the bar, Yarek, and though I was mostly trying to sneak around unnoticed, he informed Ashby (guitarist) of Romances I’d travelled to see them play and before I knew it, I’d met the whole band and was spilling my guts to them about how much I loved their music. They were all so friendly and I’d managed to get through the night without much trouble at all!

The only issue I encountered was one that I think is quite typical for women, whether they’re alone or accompanied; I attracted the unwanted attention of a couple of men that evening and one was following me around for a while. I wont play it down as an issue. This is quite a serious issue that is, in part, one of the reasons I’ve been too terrified to go out alone.

I hadn’t really known how to deal with unwanted attention and that’s probably one thing I’ve yet to learn, but Soufian (bassist) spotted what was going on. He somehow managed to get rid of the man, quickly, with little more than a glare and declaring we’d ignore him.

Regardless of the behaviour of some intimidating men, I ended up having a wonderfully memorable night, for all the right reasons. I couldn’t stop smiling for days.

I enjoyed the support bands, Big Peyote and Rival Karma. Yarek insisted that I would love Rival Karma and he was absolutely right! They quickly became another favourite of mine.

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Rival Karma at The Monarch, Camden, 7th August 2018 – Photo by James Canavan

Rival Karma knew Yarek, so thanks to them, I was able to track him down on social media and stay in touch. And since first seeing them live, I’ve also been able to enjoy them treating their fans to a little live music on Instagram when I’ve been stuck at home, something they may never know just how much I appreciate.

(Or there was that time I was watching while walking around Tesco, attracting the gazes of everybody I walked past, but suddenly caring a whole lot less if I looked like a ‘loser’.)

I’ve enjoyed watching the bands so much, I ended up returning to London again twice this week so that I can see all three bands again. I also got myself tickets to see several other bands and wrote another bucket-list, specifically for all the bands I’m determined to see.

I took myself on a date to Daphne Restaurant in Camden, somewhere I’d always wanted to go when I was spending so much time in London. My ex and his girlfriend joined me to watch Romances this time and whereas that sort of situation might be awkward for some people, I had the best night with them. I’m so grateful to have them as friends.

After my experiences recently, now when I want to go anywhere, I don’t suppose that I wont go based on fear. Being alone certainly wont stop me! Now I know that I’ll probably go wherever I want to. My comfort zone has gotten a whole lot bigger all of a sudden.

I’m starting to think I was always supposed to go and see Romances eventually and I knew it, deep in my soul. It felt like destiny that I’d almost ignored, a chance to romance myself.