Updated: Apr 19
Just before the pandemic chaos hit the globe, I wrote a blog about how I was making a metaphorical descend into the underworld, in the name of being initiated into a “higher” version of myself, and related my journey to the myth of Inanna’s descent, also in the context of the collective unconscious: https://www.shadowilluminationyoga.com/post/inanna-and-our-descent-into-the-underworld
Here follows a protraction of this sharing of my (and the collective) archetypal journey, where the cycles of life-death-life forms part of the Natural Law, the law we can trust. We have been partaking in these cycles for eons and multiple life-times. Take note that it is not a cycle of life-death-some-more-death-decay-and-damnation-into-infinity and-beyond. Cycles are circular and death always leads to new life, eventually… However, before new life and rebirth can set in for us on our personal journeys, we have to allow for the old parts of ourselves and our lives to die completely (not a half-hearted approach of still keeping a little back door open, or using some form of spiritual bypassing to escape the pain). Often we have no choice but to let those parts die off, as is the case for many of us now: we are in an initiation process of hardship and a stripping away, which we did not want. In order to not go into victim mode and instead tap our agency, we can surrender to this process, which is NOT the same as submitting and giving up our power. Surrender means we choose to allow for what needs to die, to die, we choose again and again to LIVE, we claim the cycles and we give whatever happens, sacred context. In this way, whatever happens (and we do not know what the extent of the repercussions of the pandemic is really going to be….), is part of the Soul forging process.
In the ancient stories of for example Inanna and Jesus, they both physically died and remained dead for three days, after which they were resurrected. For each one of us, the rebirth, resurrection, ascension and transfiguration part of the cycle looks different, but the outcome is always the same: we allow ourselves to become our “higher octaves”, to become more of who we really are and what we came here to be and do. With transfiguration, we are not changing into different people, trying to transcend our natures, we are still inherently the same people, but we have become more, whether it be in the context of our relationships, or work, or health, or play/creativity, or psychologically. In the face of so much uncertainty and change, it helps to continuously orient ourselves to “Who/what do I serve/am I an instrument of, and who will I become?”.
For me, personally, it has been/is transfiguration of consciousness:
At the start of South Africa’s lock-down almost three weeks ago, and in light of all the conflicting information and “conspiracy” theories reaching my phone each day, I decided to go against the natural impulse of putting myself “out there/online” and rather, in addition to be physically contained, surrender to it by also containing my energy. Containment is not the same as contraction: sometimes containment means that we do nothing and become very still, despite the ensuing anxiety of having to continue to make money to pay the bills, or the need to stay updated with the latest news. When we become truly still, we are open to LISTENING to the messages that are coming down the pike and which are personal to galvanising our unique souls and gathering our power and resilience for what is to come. For this, I used the mantra of my teacher Jumana Sophia “If it does not bring clarity or comfort, it is not for me. Not when I am vulnerable (my nervous system is in fight/flight)”. And so I went on a personal mini vision quest (mini, in the sense that I was not subjected to the, harsh physical conditions of a traditional quest).
Getting practical about transfiguration: Suffice to say, I turned to Mother Earth, and specifically Her very immediate and obvious cycle in the form of the Day/Night cycle. I sat for hours on end in the garden, just observing and witnessing how the hue of green, of the different plants around changes at different times of the day and also how it changes with cloud cover and rain; what times which birds are around and being vocal; when the bees are around the flowers and when they retire; how the sounds and smells in the garden change during night time. In doing this, the veil between the seen and the unseen stated to become very thin, and it was during these moments when I had my most profound epiphanies and experiences of love. I also cultivated a practice which I call "Deriving pure impulse for action/inaction". It starts by becoming still and forging a living connection with Mother Earth and my body, which I try to maintain, moment to moment, by staying mindful of what I am experiencing with my senses. Then I would allow for my inner navigation system to inform me, as to what it is that I want to be doing (or not doing) in the moment, based on whatever need/impulse arises, whether it be reading, or making tea, or eating something healthy or lying in the sun, or connecting with people on my phone, or scratch a cat, do yoga, etc. As long as the response is driven from a place of stillness, and where my sacred need is informing me as to what small “step” I can take in the direction of meeting it. This is a huge process of discernment. It is about being very clear and firm with where I am putting my energy, and rewiring my neural pathways to facilitate me to act out of stillness and not out of anxiety/scatteredness. I want to be so practiced by the end of the five-week (or longer) lock-down period, that it will come naturally to me when "life as we know it" returns, along with all the inevitable changes...
Another practical means by which I practice "Deriving pure impulse for action/inaction": is through moving my body to music of my choosing. After an emptying out of all pushing, striving, being up-out-and-over there, and “efforting”, I just stand still and sway. When I then play a song which touches me on an emotional and a soul level, my body naturally moves into shapes and rhythms, undulations and shaking, shimmy’s, simple yoga postures and mudras. The dance form of Movement Medicine, which is partially guided by a facilitator, is an easy way to connect to this type of mindful embodiment. In these photos, I was guided by the lovely Petra in one of her profound Movement Medicine sessions.
And so I conclude by relating another myth of creation, from Vedic lore: I am writing this blog on the eighth lunar day (tithi) of Ashtami - exactly on the half way mark of Moon’s journey from darkness to fullness or from fullness to reunion -, which is governed by the goddess (Nitya Devi) Tvarita, the one who balances the opposites, and becomes the Protectress of the universe, balancing the forces of chaos. There are many versions of the myth of Creation. For example, according to Vedic thought, through the will of Narayana, a golden egg appeared in the waters of creation. This golden egg or brahmanda contained a totality of creation within itself – all the worlds and all the elements combined together, ready to give birth to our world. Yet, in almost any of these myths, there usually is some sort of opposing force as well - a force of chaos, untangling and disintegration, which strives for liberation and release of all the combined energies. In one of the oldest myths of the Vedas, in the Tvaritamulasutra, there is a great battle between forces of chaos and forces of creation, which comes to an end only when Supreme Goddess appears as Tvarita. She shows us the way, how to honour both Light and Darkness.
This is my invitation to you, in these times of great chaos and uncertainty – befriend the mystery, and all shall be revealed…