Every time I do a workshop with women, I find myself consumed with a pure state of joy, as I see and feel them grow and connect spiritually with themselves and the other women around them. Each woman experiencing a mini rite of passage on her journey through motherhood and life. It’s the most unexplainable feeling of love, shared experience, connection. As I write it’s so hard to put into words this feeling of seeing others stepping into their power whether they realise it or not.
As a shamanic practitioner, I am in a seriously privileged position, with the help of my spirit guides I guide women through the stages of life we often forget we pass through. Motherhood being the greatest transformation we will ever navigate. Even as young girls we are being prepared for this momentous change, puberty a time we should be celebrating our transition into womanhood but unfortunately passed over in this modern world as something unclean and to be kept hidden. Not so for the indigenous peoples who celebrate and honour their young women teaching them how sacred their bodies are and how important this change is.
Like most western women my transitions from girl to woman to mother to grandmother to menopause went completely unnoticed and unacknowledged. I never felt the importance and significance of each stage, just blundered through, growing to dislike and disrespect myself and my body as it aged and became opposite to the way the world told me it should be. Every part of me becoming alien and defective with the passing years. I lost me. This morning as I journeyed with Mamma Cacao, I experienced what can only be called a rite of passage, I found myself sitting with a circle of elders, visions began to come of myself as a younger woman, supple and youthful, and then morphed to myself as I am now, body changed and ravaged by the forces of time and gravity. I began to become aware of the other women in the circle, all aged, beautiful, and smiling, joyful, each suffering the same gravity ravaged bodies, but they rejoiced in the way they looked. Each wrinkle, each change wrought through giving life and nurturing that life into motherhood for future generations. Celebrating the roles their bodies had played in the process of carrying and birthing new life.
Finally, I began to understand how sacred the body of a woman is. Proudly I can now stand and say that I have carried and birthed seven sons and daughters, been the vessel that thirteen other souls chose to spend the few weeks of life they were owed from other lives, fed, and nurtured those children through their lives to adulthood, watched as they too became mothers and fathers embarking on their own journeys. Now I stand as crone, grandmother, elder, honoured to be able to support other women as they walk the road, I have, travelling the map less path of motherhood, able to share the knowledge and wisdom that comes from lived experience. Being a source of support for those wondering if they are doing things the right or wrong way, listening when all that’s needed is to be heard. Holding space for the women who follow me to grow and heal. A living ancestor with ties to the past present and future, passing on wisdom passed down to me before it is lost. If I’d written this yesterday morning, I’d probably have consigned it to pretentious twaddle and dismissed the importance of what the journey represented. But today it explains those unexplainable feelings of pure joy, love, and pride I feel at the end of workshops. It explains how the power of transformation comes from shared experiences and feeling safe within ourselves and others in a healing sacred space. It reminds me of the light that fills each woman’s eyes when she discovers something hidden within and acknowledges that she is in some new way special and important. But more personally, I am able to acknowledge that I make a difference to others, that I have worth and that my age has given me wisdom that can affect others in positive ways. Finally realising that it’s actually OK to feel pride in the things I have done and experienced, owning my authentic being and allowing the world to see her.
This journey was an epiphany that awoke me to how the Universe sees me, and that accepting its view gives me strength and joy that was lacking. Over the years I have suffered terrible moments of feeling my life was worthless, but today I can finally begin to accept that even in the darkest moments of life I was learning something that could benefit others down the line. The illness that disrupts my life is another gift to share with others as they walk through their own illnesses. Everything has happened for a reason and those reasons enable me to help others. The weight that sat on my shoulders is lifting and being replaced with a cloak of knowledge I can pass on to others. It’s very liberating if I’m honest. All the years of talking with spirit guides makes sense and I feel as though I am a new person, which is what every rite of passage does for us. Imagine how much difference we could make to
the lives of our daughters and granddaughters if we only took the time to sit and talk, listen to their thoughts and worries. Imagine the difference to our own lives if we took the time to stop, come together and do the same for ourselves.
Today I feel a freedom that I should have experienced so many times in life but was denied by a society that has forgotten how important it is to celebrate those moments of transition for both women and men. Perhaps by encouraging an attitude of community and sharing we can begin to reignite those rites of passage that bring us transformation and growth, finally acknowledging how special each of us truly are, and finding the joy and wisdom that shines from the lovely face of the Peruvian grandmother in the photograph.