mindfulness, Review, Spirituality

Guided Meditation with Ariana August

Last week I found myself in a free guidance and meditation session with Ariana August. The impact of the session was too good to not share with my readers.

I met Ariana several months ago on Facebook, through one of my spiritual communities (Facebook groups). On Facebook she describes herself as a mystic, which is probably the fastest way of suggesting she does a number of things or has a number of mystical abilities, such as psychic ability and the ability to work with energy.

At the time of meeting, I was looking into Ariana’s past life regression sessions as it was something we had been discussing in the group. At least one of my shocking experiences in the ReWilding for Women workshop had left me deeply curious about past lives. Issues with both my laptop and computer meant that I had to put that idea on the back-burner for now, but we’ve remained in each other’s networks and I’ve been watching Ariana’s businesses develop and expand rapidly over the last few months.

It almost seems like Ariana is always working. You can’t help but notice that as well doing paid work, when she has the time there’s also a number of things she offers to her followers absolutely free, like card readings and on the spot distance energy clearings. I found myself joining her new private group Divine Counterpart Guidance, where she shares free guidance and the insights she receives from Spirit on the subject daily.

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Ariana August (image from Facebook)

Divine Counterpart Guidance is essentially Twin Flame guidance, but Ariana has stated that she has been instructed by Spirit to no longer use the term ‘Twin Flame’. I’m not generally a fan of Twin Flame concepts circulating the internet, but her decision to use a different term caught my eye.

The term Divine Counterparts is a lot less offensive to me, as I’m not immediately reminded of all the negativity I associate with Twin Flames. And I believe I truly do have a masculine counterpart. Whether you are man, woman or non-binary, the energy inside of us is both masculine and feminine.

My masculine counterpart is the masculine part of me. He is me! I have been referring to this ‘masculine counterpart’ for a while and can rely on my masculine and feminine energies for different things – different strengths, different weaknesses.  

Whereas I’m not sure that my soul was split between two humans, I am sure of a masculine energy or counterpart and he is, I suppose you could say, the twin of my feminine essence. I am able to differentiate between the two energies and in more recent times it’s been comforting to understand this wholeness within me on a new, deeper level.

One evening, I was in agony

I’m a Nutritional Therapist and I have my own personalised healthy diet plan, suitable for my personal health needs. My meat intake is massively reduced. My fruit and vegetable intake is higher than the 5 a day recommendation.

I joyfully experience a total lack of nagging negative symptoms when I follow the plan. However, there’s been a bit of deviation from that plan recently, with a fair amount of unhealthy food or rather, foods that might otherwise be healthy, but aren’t suitable for me.

I chose to eat a delicious beef steak, when I usually wouldn’t allow myself to do so and the contents of the entire meal had an almost immediate negative reaction on my body.

I was in so much agony so soon after finishing my meal that I’m now concerned of an underlying health issue I wasn’t aware of before. This pain was bad enough that I soon went to bed. Standing and sitting was unbearable. I had hoped I would be able to meditate, but after several attempts I gave up as the pain was so great I found myself unable to relax into it.

I laid face down in bed, with a pillow under my stomach, trying to alleviate the pain through pressure. Mindfulness techniques enabled me to alleviate the stress and frustration about experiencing the pain, but I couldn’t relieve the pain. I realised I wasn’t going to be getting any sleep while I felt so terrible.

Eventually I picked up my phone and began scrolling through Facebook. That’s when I realised that for the first time since meeting Ariana online, I was actually able to catch one of her live broadcasts. I usually end up watching them hours later. I joined the live broadcast, then dropped my phone and pressed my face against the mattress, listening intently.

Divine Guidance and The Meditation

I may not have been able to meditate when I tried alone, but turning my attention to Ariana talking was easy. Soon enough, the pain became background noise.

After a short introduction, the meditation began. I followed instructions to take deep breaths and continued listening.

I’m not in a relationship, not dating and I haven’t met anybody in the physical that I believe is my Divine Counterpart. However, I don’t particularly have to desire or believe in a Twin Flame to have found the guidance relevant in it’s own way. Like a lot of people who are even vaguely interested in romantic relationships, I would rather meet ‘The One’ (or one of the ones). If I am to be in a relationship again, let it be with the perfect, right partner for me.

I feel there were certain parts of the guidance that would fit any relationship and friendship. For example, there were suggestions that you shouldn’t be afraid to be yourself in front of your counterpart out of fear he wont love you. I felt no good friendship of mine was built by pretending to be somebody I’m not, and I can’t imagine anyone’s romantic relationships  surviving very long if, after the initial stages of getting to know each other, you have not relaxed into being yourself.

I don’t remember why but when I was a child I was asked to pick my favourite quote from a list of quotes and I chose Shakespeare’s “to thine own self be true”. It continued to be a mantra of mine all this time and I would say it’s something I was often doing rather well in terms of being true to my thoughts, feelings and beliefs, except at times when anxiety prevents me from being the April I would be without it.

However, the last five years of much deeper introspection, diving deeper again into spirituality and becoming a mindfulness practitioner has brought a whole new meaning to the word ‘self’. I don’t particularly always want to be true to my senseless anxieties when I feel them, I want to be true to the self underneath those emotions.

“I don’t want to be at the mercy of my emotions. I want to use them, to enjoy them, and to dominate them.”

~ Oscar Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Gray

The meditation and guidance progressed for about twenty minutes in total. It was around halfway through when I noticed the stomach pain finally easing off and how incredibly relaxed I felt. I realised that whereas I’d been wide awake and was sure to be awake for much of the night 15 minutes earlier, I was now most certainly teetering on the edge of sleep.

“I feel like one of you has a question.” Ariana said suddenly during the meditation.

I breathed a muffled laugh into my mattress. I did have a question, but I couldn’t get myself up to type on my phone and now I don’t remember what it was that had crossed my mind.

I actually usually have trouble following a guided meditation of around twenty minutes, especially late at night, when I suddenly find myself tired. Yet I made it all the way through the meditation, which included practices to clear, destroy or dissolve blocks in my energy or on my path.

I felt really good. Too good, actually, to stop to write a message to Ariana at the time to thank her and let her know I was actually present. The second the live stream ended, I fell straight to sleep and woke up in the morning to find my phone still open on the Facebook page.

I felt it was important to share my experience with Ariana’s guided meditation, because it sheds light on a few things. The first, is the power of meditation. It has been scientifically proven to relieve stress, reduce pain and help you sleep. This evening in particular, I achieved all three benefits.

The second thing to note is, if you fail at your attempts of meditation through pain in silence or with music, it might be worth seeking out an engaging guided meditation to listen to. In this instance I think it was focusing on what Ariana had to say and really listening that helped me to maintain my focus on the practice, instead of being distracted by the pain.

Finally, for all my frequent disregard of Twin Flame talk because of the potential negative impacts of such a  belief, there is a lot of guidance for Twin Flames that could generally be suitable for absolutely anybody in any relationship or anybody seeking one. At least, in this case, I felt the guidance was good and could only hope it would help prevent all listeners from suffering the negative consequences of Twin Flame belief.

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The Twin Flame belief is at risk of making people feel incomplete without their special someone, but some of the guidance is geared towards reminding you that you are complete on your own. That’s something everybody needs to know, but perhaps someone who believes they are a Twin Flame especially needs to know it.

At worst, I’ve seen Twin Flame belief leave people emotionally attached to relationships that have ended or ones that never even began in the first place. They explain their lost love as a ‘runner’ and sometimes, almost disturbingly, themselves as the ‘chaser’. It often looks like unhealthy obsession, preventing a person from moving on properly from a closed chapter of their life.

I’m going to have to agree with popular dating and relationship coach Matthew Hussey on the subject of ‘runners’. If someone has left you, or doesn’t want to date you, they are not the one for you!

Personal, Review

Safely Navigating Your Shamanic Calling with Andrew Camargo

If you’ve read any of my previous blog posts, you might be aware I have a tendency to sign up to (often free) online workshops and courses that fall into my path as I try to navigate my way through healing trauma and spiritual growth independently.

The last two courses I’d reviewed on this site were both spiritual in nature. I had little success with the Energy Alignment Method (EAM) course that promised to help me heal my life, yet had interesting experiences with another course that promised to empower me.

Though I’ve still yet to revisit and properly review, as promised, my experiences with the very first workshop I signed up to in December 2017, as well as other courses in 2018, I’d like to dive straight into discussing my latest journey with Andrew Camargo’s course, Safely Navigating Your Shamanic Calling. I was able to take the workshop for free, having stumbled across the course in a Facebook advert.

If you follow my Instagram, you’ll have seen that recently, I’ve quoted Camargo on the subject of reality and imagination. Not only should this be indication I quickly gained an amount of respect for what Camargo was teaching, but also that I’m deeply concerned about separating reality and illusion or truth and lies.

I encounter so many issues in my spiritual communities online, it’s hard to keep track of them all, but I felt that Camargo’s warnings in the earlier lessons of the workshop, highlighted a couple of the most common problems, such as people being unable to discern imagination from spiritual experiences.

In my communities there are issues with people failing to understand what spiritual growth is and how to achieve it, assuming that burning sage and behaving as if they are spiritual achieves (and indicates) advancement; there are a great deal of vulnerable people out there, unable to discern truth from lies; vulnerable people turning to Twin Flame legends to help them cope with their troubled relationships, when they should perhaps be seeking a counsellor; there are a lot of people displaying serious mental health issues; many are convinced, after a spiritual experience or taking interest in spiritual growth that their life purpose is to take on a professional role in the ‘spiritual sector’; and finally, we are inundated with frauds and cold readers, “psychics” who are either knowingly being dishonest and making things up as they go along, or people who have a very inflated sense of their own abilities, failing to realise they still have much more work to do in terms of spiritual advancement.

The latter issue may explain why every day on Facebook, when I see someone ask ‘what colour is my aura?’ they receive anything from 10 to 100 responses, saying different things. Or, you may simply argue the responses are different, because there’s no such thing as aura’s or being able to see one!

For some reason, most people within the community aren’t talking about the reality that things are obviously going so very wrong, for so many people, and if you try to address it, there’s a high chance of hostile response from these so-called enlightened people.

‘Well, that’s your belief, not mine.’ you might read.

Somewhat worrying and frustrating when you know a person willingly opts to believe in a lie!

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Photo by Nizam Abdul Latheef on Pexels.com

Allow me now to just explain to readers why a course like Camargo’s would appeal in the first place, and why I remain open to the possibility that not every psychic or person who claimed to have special abilities was a liar or crazy.

First of all, I’ve visited psychics in person a number of times. I’d say 9 out of 10 times, they absolutely were very skilled, professional cold readers. I am discerning enough to be able to spot when someone is being as vague as possible and actually trying to draw information out of me which they can then use to their advantage. However, although that’s a whopping 9 out of 10 times that I feel I was dealing with a fraud, it’s not 10 out of 10.

I’ve dealt with a psychic that forewarned me before we began that he was ‘very accurate’ and he said this almost as if he was saying ‘you can still cancel this appointment, if you don’t think you can handle it.’

‘What an arrogant jerk!’ I’d thought.

And then this “arrogant jerk” told me to keep my mouth shut and let him do his thing. He had no interest in fishing information out of me. He just meant to sit there, holding my ring in his hands with his eyes closed and tell me everything he claimed spirit was showing him in images. The result of our appointment was us falling into an argument, and him leaving in anger refusing to take my money, calling me ‘arrogant’ for refusing to accept what he was saying.

It was my worst meeting with a psychic ever, because I’d finally stumbled across one that seemed to know everything about everything – a whole bunch of things he couldn’t and shouldn’t possibly know – and he was, as he warned, very accurate.

Now, as if this incredible man wasn’t enough to make me remain open to the possibility that some people out there are genuine, I myself have had a lifetime of experiences that suggest that spirits, energy work and manifesting, and psychic abilities are real things that people can experience, no matter where we’re at with our scientific understanding of such things.

I’ve had recurring dreams that I eventually realised were prophetic in nature, when the events of said dreams came to pass. I’ve had visions, knowings and heard things of prophetic nature that came to pass. I’ve seen people in front of me appear and then vanish and I’ve even shared some of these experiences with other people, with some of them blaming me for attracting the vanishing people.

My experiences date back to as far back as I can remember. I always thought it was as if I was simply born a witch, as I’m often described. I began meditating and casting spells, without instruction from a teacher or book from a very young age, but I was also very young when I actively tried to shut myself down and stop seeing people that weren’t there.

I learned my name, April, means “to open” and it was an ‘AHA!’ moment for me, like suddenly I’d been given explanation for my inherent openness, honesty and interest in seeing what’s behind every door I come across.

In one of my old homes, both I and two of my ex boyfriends kept feeling something grabbing us by the throat, or punching the pillows in front of our faces in the night. Once, in that home, I loudly proclaimed ‘there’s no such thing as ghosts’ when a young girl was on the news claiming her house was haunted, and then my sunglasses that had been placed on a shelf, immediately came flying off the shelf across the room towards me, leaving my ex-boyfriend and I jumping up and down screaming, with him insisting I apologise to the ghost I’d just pissed off.

We both caught a glimpse of what we believed to be the entity bothering us one evening, when my ex was – no judgement please – taking a hit from a bong and then turned to me, said ‘watch this’ and blew a thin stream of smoke across the room. The smoke appeared to gather into a big fog, right next to the same spot where my sunglasses had been launched across the room and the smoke took the shape of person, marching on the spot. Once again, we were both screaming.

Most doctors would put me on pills for discussing this, especially now that my ex is no longer alive to verify our experiences (even if he was, they’d probably put us both on pills). I, however, don’t think I need pills. I think I need answers and quite frankly, nobody has even been able to explain why things fly off shelves, why I and my friends have shared experiences and why sometimes, I just know stuff because it’s like someone opened a door in my head, walked in and dropped the information there.

Laura Berry - support
A message from a friend some months after my ex-husband’s suicide

I always get nervous talking about these experiences and blogging about it for all to see is a scary thing to do. It doesn’t matter how discerning or reasonable I am about things, I will always meet people that will call me a liar and suggest I’ve made it all up. People will always insist I’m crazy. On the flip-side, there are also people adamant I killed my ex-husband with witchcraft, and insist I was the ‘evil abuser’ in that relationship.

I will also always encounter people that will attempt to explain some of my experiences as something other than spiritual or paranormal in nature, without actually successfully explaining them. Yet, I’m fully prepared to accept an explanation that isn’t paranormal or spiritual in nature, when there is one.

It doesn’t matter that I don’t claim to have the answers and am simply remaining open-minded, a closed-mind that thinks it knows for sure the in’s and out’s of this universe and what’s beyond it will dismiss what I have to say. I’m full of wonder and questions, whereas some people, especially those that never experienced anything extraordinary, are full of answers and fixed beliefs.

I’m most certainly not a shaman and until working my way through Camargo’s workshop, had no conscious idea that any events or experiences in my life could’ve indicated shamanic calling. I took the course out of little more than curiosity, hoping to understand a little more about what shamanism is all about. I’d say I have a pretty vague understanding, what with not being a shaman myself and never meeting anybody who described themselves as such.

I didn’t feel a shamanic calling, but after completing the workshop, I wonder if I have simply been ignoring it, sometimes out of terror and often because of stereotypical views about who a shaman is and where they must come from. See, much like I accuse people in my spiritual communities of often being confused or misled, I wrongly assumed that shamanism means giving up life as I know it, buying some robes and living out the rest of my days in a cave, where I would drink weird potions and spend most of my time either in the spirit realm, or in the perilous throes of psychosis. I also couldn’t imagine a genuine shaman being a white person from the west.

As it happens, I’m as guilty as I charge others, at least in terms of shamanism and what I thought of the subject. I ended the workshop wishing I had the time and money to commit to diving deeper into Camargo’s world, in his much more extensive and more expensive course.

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The man himself, Andrew Camargo

The six lessons I sat through obviously only scratched the surface of the things Camargo means to teach people, and there’s various reasons why, despite still not knowing truth from lies, I’d be interested in learning more from Camargo.  And here are those reasons:

1. Camargo actually acknowledges people’s inability to discern reality from imagination.

In his short course, Camargo describes how initiation into shamanism can often lead people to very quickly have an inflated sense of their own abilities. All it takes sometimes is just one experience with spirits, the spirit realm or psychic ability for people to believe they are now awakened and the level of an Elder.

The result of trying to run before you can walk, or an inflated sense of one’s abilities leads to people being unable to separate truth from their own imagination. In other words, bunches of these psychics I refer to as frauds, genuinely might not be able to tell they are simply operating from imagination, rather than communicating with spirits.

Camargo refers to having struggled with this issue in the past himself. Surprisingly, at least for me, it’s been rare to come across somebody holding spiritual-based workshops or teaching spiritual sciences that is prepared to acknowledge the b***s*** in the community.

2. Camargo acknowledges that the spirit realm is not all “love and light”.

Is anybody else tired of hearing about love and light from the droves of people that you’re pretty sure haven’t bothered with a minute of shadow work, because of their inflated sense of how enlightened they are?

If anything indicated to me that the spirit realm may be full of tricksters or dangerous entities, it was feeling hands wrapping around my throat trying to choke me and having exes screaming about experiencing the same thing. It’s being woken up in the night by a boyfriend, screaming, because he thought I, who had been asleep, had just tried to punch him in the face, and then experiencing the same thing myself. It’s breaking up with that boyfriend, wondering if it was him punching my pillow in the night all along, only to repeat the experiences with the next boyfriend to move in.

Camargo suggests that as well as struggling to discern imagination from reality, those who have an inflated sense of their own abilities will also be unable to recognise darker spirits, like tricksters, who purposefully deliver messages of half-truths, cloaked in lies.

Surprisingly, many people I stumble across at the moment seem to be so wrapped up in the “love and light” idea, they’re completely dismissive of the possibility of darker spirits, low-vibrational entities and even lower realms that could perhaps be described as sort of Hell realms, where you’re more likely to experience bad things, rather than good. And when they do acknowledge a person who thinks they are being tormented by a dark or negative energy or entity, their solution is always “love and light”. That’s it!

I remember one evening at a friends house when my brother, for reasons I wont get into, became concerned we may be in the presence of a dark energy. His response, though hilarious to me, struck me as likely more effective than “sending love and light”. He jumped from his seat, terrified, screaming and swearing, and ran straight to the kitchen, where he found a bottle of salt and amusingly began spraying it all over my friends house, still swearing at the likely imagined entity and actively trying to banish it.

Why do I think love and light might not be an effective method of dealing with the kind of entity Camargo describes as a Trickster?

Well, it’s just a theory, but I figure if you’re talking to a Trickster and you trust it, chances are you’re going to be rather friendly and perhaps even (conditionally) loving and compassionate towards it. If the conditional love and light of most people was genuinely effective, why are Tricksters sticking around, giving people prepared to listen to them the time of day?

Though I may be wrong about my brother’s solution being more effective, the “love and light” gang strike me as lacking some serious substance. I agree we’re beings of love and light, but I also agree that we all cast a shadow and something about people parroting the words “love and light” pisses me off. I’m clearly not an enlightened being, see! But neither are most of these people.

3. Camargo stresses the necessity of shadow work and agrees it’s a lifelong process.

Do I really keep meeting people that think they have completed their shadow work? Yes.

Maybe one of the reasons I failed to get on with EAM,  is because EAM essentially claims that you can heal your life, clear your energy and begin vibrating at higher frequencies without really doing any of the necessary inner work and self-reflection required to heal. It’s all about “finding blocks in your energy” and repeating affirmations to release the blocks.

The process of finding and releasing said blocks should require some amount of self-reflection, but with all focus primarily being on waving your woes away like a Fairy Godmother, I would assume you’re of course not dealing with things properly.

Camargo stresses that shadow work never ends. He suggests the more light you begin to cast, the bigger that shadow you cast becomes! I like Camargo.

4. Camargo has really done his homework and comes across as having experience.

My name is Andrew Camargo. I have been studying Archetypal Shamanism, Entheogenic Spirituality, Alchemy, Jungian Psychology, Modern Mythology and Visionary Art for the past 17 years.

~ Andrew Camargo

He allegedly went to Yale. He’s done some travelling. I believe he mentioned working with genuine shaman’s at some point. He’s claiming he’s experienced having a self-inflated ego and sense of his own abilities and then eventually realised his mistake. As a result, he’s genuinely grown. He now has the ability to be discerning. He is now, unlike so many other teachers who are surprisingly failing to do so, actively warning all students that come to him of the extreme likelihood that the initiatory call results in the exact same mistakes for a lot of people.

5. Camargo repeatedly refers to Carl G. Jung.

I don’t remember when I discovered Jung, myself, and I by no means am as familiar with his work as Camargo obviously is, but I do know that as soon as I began to discover Jung, I began to learn very important things. Just by reading a small quote of Jung’s, or a few paragraphs on his discoveries and theories, I’ve learned so much about myself and people, that I’m prepared to name him as one of my greatest teachers.

Jung has repeatedly triggered me to have a heightened understanding of the nature of the psyche. He, perhaps, has taught me more about what I want or need to know in a few minutes than some teachers who tried to teach me for entire years at school did.

I quickly gained respect for what Camargo was doing, despite not knowing whether there is such a thing as a genuine shaman, because I at least know there is such a thing as not being genuine. His references to Jung only make me more inclined to pay attention to what he has to say. At the very least, isn’t Camargo’s interest in Jung indicative of a person deeply interested in seeking greater understanding of himself, of humanity on the whole and of life itself?

6. Camargo alludes to shamans having ordinary jobs.

Back once again to my concerns that spiritualism leads to people misunderstanding what they should be doing with their lives, thanks to stereotyping and “teachers” and teaching all the wrong stuff, Camargo, like a breath of fresh air, describes in his lessons people with “ordinary” jobs that can be assisted in expression by formative and empowering facets of the Shamanic Archetype.

I expressed that it would be a disaster if everybody who felt they had a spiritual calling decided to become a Reiki therapist, because actually, the world still needs people working in other professions. When you enter a spiritual community on social media, there’s very little talk of people in ordinary professions and a lot of discussion about people having left, or trying to leave their corporate or ordinary jobs, because they feel they’re lightworkers and should take on some stereotypically appropriate role. And that’s without the 17 years of experience Camargo has had studying various relevant subjects, or like my almost 31 years now of experiences that have gone unexplained by conventional science.

In the short course, Camargo refers to midwives, funeral directors and DJs, whose professions are guided and empowered by shamanic abilities. So, I’ve finally stumbled upon a teacher who essentially acknowledges that people with psychic abilities or other special abilities, aren’t necessarily supposed to be Tarot readers and Crystal Therapists. I consider this an important lesson that more people need to learn.

7. Camargo got me painting.

Throughout the learning process, Camargo invites us to write, as this will help us in the learning process. At the end of course, after having tried to identify one shamanic facet that is dominant in me, and then six facets that either form or empower the dominant facet, Camargo instructs us to draw our personal constellation, creating a ‘Sacred Soul Artefact’ to keep for inspiration. Again, this last piece of homework supports the learning process and would perhaps even trigger the activation of dormant or latent energies.

I think it was early last year I said to my mum I’d love to start painting with her and she handed me paper and encouraged me to get on with it. I’ve been saying for a long time that I want to get painting and drawing, not because I’m good at it at all, but because art classes were one of my favourites at school and I missed doing it.

And yet, all I did for months was just think about painting from time to time, never actually allowing my interest in painting to manifest into reality. That’s something I’m prone to do, especially when it comes to my creative interests. I’ll think about the story I want to write, or the picture I want to paint, but I wont actually do it.

It’s almost outrageous I haven’t bothered to paint until now, considering last year, on another blog I wrote about the importance of creative expression for good health and how at times, such expression can even be linked to shadow work, and the acknowledgement or expression of parts of our psyche we have tried to reject. I sat and thought a lot about the need to be creative and all I’ve done since, (this blog not included), is write roughly three poems and 20 pages of a story I might never finish. And I wrote all of that in the same three-week period.

If Camargo’s course triggered anything at all, it was at the very least, getting me off my backside to finally enjoy painting something. Though I largely wasn’t sure at all what exactly I was taking away from the course when I began the work, I at least knew I wanted to put effort into this project and place a little trust in the workshop as having something useful to offer me.

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My Sacred Soul Artefact

My amateurish piece of work has brought to life the personal shamanic constellation I devised as I worked through Camargo’s course.

At the centre of my constellation, is symbolism for the Visionary Artist or Writer facet of the Shamanic Archetype. It was difficult, at first, to pinpoint my main facet as the descriptions given for each facet seem to describe them how they would be expressed by a skilled or experienced shaman. For that reason, I almost considered the Psychic or Wounded Healer facets as my main facet, as the description for Visionary Artist details an artist that “records humanity’s ongoing, ever-evolving relationship to the supersensible, archetypal, mythical, imaginal, magical, spiritual realms.” I felt that only a fraction of my poetry or stories reflected this.

However, after much deliberation, I realised that if I considered where I’ve had the most success in my life, it’s through writing. I realised that I tend to hear “you should be a writer” more than I’ve heard anything else. I also realised that just days before beginning the course I’d resolved that I was perhaps, at least for now, being guided away from fixating on the Wounded Healer facet, without realising it in those terms, of course, until completing the course.

Finally, I understood my potential psychic abilities to not be anywhere near strong enough to select it as my main facet. I absolutely do not for one second believe my skills there are stronger than my skills as a writer. Writing has, as well as got me into small amounts of trouble over the years, saved my skin more than once. As well as winning various writing competitions over the years, something as simple as writing letters has gotten me out of trouble many times or essentially resulted in me getting exactly what I want in life.

As a result of this realisation, The Wounded Healer became a formative facet in my constellation, and the Psychic became an empowering facet. The other two formative facets, which shape how the Writer facet manifests, and are symbolised in the ring closely orbiting the centre are the Trickster and Storyteller facets. For a better understanding of what all of this means, I strongly suggest signing up Camargo’s course if you’re interested.

However, my reasons choosing the Storyteller as a formative facet should perhaps be rather obvious when I have chosen Writer as my main. I selected the Trickster, also known as the Sacred Clown or Holy Fool for a number of reasons, not just limited to the description I was given of the facet.

First of all, whereas my name means ‘to open’ and often conjures up thoughts of springtime in a lot of people’s minds, it also greatly reminds people of April Fool’s Day. I personally always feel like The Fool in the tarot deck, always at the beginning of my spiritual journey and also, always at the end of something too, which is what the card numbered zero tends to imply. It also reminds me how springtime is also very much a beginning and an end of a cycle and my birthday actually falls on the Equinox.

Second,  the term trickster conjures up a million memories of my tendency to be mischievous and rebellious, or a bit of a prankster, whereas the word clown resonates deeply because a lot of the time, much of it was clowning around and an attempt to entertain myself or others. So, I’ve always described myself as a clown and so, was obviously immediately drawn to the facet.

Camargo’s shamanic-based description of the Trickster is that they reveal the subconscious, like your repressed shadows and because of this, tend to trigger healing. Upon reading that, my mind automatically flashed to times where I, through my actions or words that may have initially been upsetting for people, actually triggered an individual to heal or better themselves. A Trickster allegedly tends to “expose inconvenient truths” and is “creatively destructive and destructively creative”.

Again, those ideas about a Trickster resonated, but I also realised I was remembering a number of events I felt guilty about. I also recently got kicked out of a spiritual community on Facebook, for trying to expose the kinds of “inconvenient truths” about the ego I’ve discussed here, that Camargo also describes.

Finally, I knew the Sacred Clown would be in my constellation somewhere, because if you walked into my home, you wouldn’t have to look too hard to find a clown. I have always loved clowns. They may scare some people, but as I’ve suggested already, I identify with clowns.

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That’s me, showing off Clarence, a one-of-a-kind Shadow Doll made by a witch in Gloucester.

The last two facets, which are symbolised in the outer circle of my constellation along with the Psychic facet, supposedly empower and inspire my main facet. These facets are Tender of Dreams and Occult Scientist.

I have, over the last year, had an increased interest in dream interpretation and helping others in interpreting their own. My dreams have also directly influenced my writing, poetry, stories and even decisions. I couldn’t help but wonder if perhaps The Wounded Healer and Tender of Dreams should have been placed the other way around.

Are my own wounds really forming much of how I express myself in my writing, or did they just inspire me to study psychology and take training in some complementary therapies?

The Occult Scientist facet is essentially what I think of as the witches facet. Whereas I could’ve chosen the Energy Worker facet, as much of witchcraft does simply involve energy work in some form and led me to taking Reiki training, The Occult Scientist facet recognises there is a little more to it and implies that one understands on a deeper level exactly how to use energy. And of course I feel empowered and inspired by my knowledge and abilities as a so-called witch.

Whether I made a mistake in creating my personal constellation or not, I feel confident that I chose the 7 facets out of Camargo’s 25 that are most suitable for me. And though I didn’t know when I began to write this exactly what I’d gotten from the course so far, as I end this post it’s starting to become a little more clear. Not only have I learned more about shamanism, and the various ways in which shamanism is expressed, but I’ve once again looked at little deeper at myself, my path and my progress and abilities.

Camargo’s workshop triggered interesting self-reflection and inspired me to write what is possibly the longest blog post I’ve written here so far. I have created a painting that I’m actually rather proud to have completed and genuinely will keep close-by, just in case it does have the power to inspire and empower me, or trigger me to take the next step in spiritual growth. Though I may never become a shaman, I consider this time well spent!

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!