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What lies beneath the surface of every day consciousness...

.... is our own underworld: A metaphor, as well as a reference to the landscape of our unconscious mind. Here we find both our limiting soul contracts which we inherited (from past lives and/or from transgenerational baggage) and which we acquire in childhood.

Using shamanic practices, like, for example, practices in books written by the psychologist and medical anthropologist Dr. Alberto Villoldo’s, one can journey to the chamber of soul contracts, to discover which debilitating contracts we have unconsciously created and with whom, or under which circumstances. Another way we can do this is to turn to mythology – engaging in myth, fairy tales and folklore opens up a portal to our underworld, as we identify with the hero or heroine’s quests. By witnessing how these archetypes (prototype characters) navigated the process of releasing the grip of soul contracts, we can do the same for ourselves and possibly also side-step some of the detours they took on their underworld journeys.

Our stories: For example, when working with the masculine sides of your personalities, consider the myth of Parsifal’s quest for the Holy Grail: he made a soul contract with his mother when he embarked on his Knights Templar journey, with her giving him a homespun garment to always wear, and told him not to ask any questions, and to not make love to fair maidens he may encounter on his travels. Because he was young and naïve at the time, he honoured this agreement with his mother, which caused him to miss the grail castle when he came so close to it, and resulted in years of fighting endless battles. Only once he asked the question, as to who the grail serves, the grail caste appeared to him for him to enter. This illustrates how we can unconsciously sign up for years of endless battling through life, like, for example, missing our destiny by being a workaholic in a job which is unsatisfactory and devoid of joy. Until we ask the poignant question: “Why are we doing this?”…

When working with our feminine sides, the Greek myth of Psyche and Eros demonstrates how women can be trapped in marriages where they are not “allowed to question the status quo of their husbands’ behaviour”, like when Psyche agreed to the soul contract of only making love to Eros in the dark, so as to ensure that she remains living in paradise. How often do women not to remain oblivious of their own power and wisdom, in order to not upset their partner or family… Fortunately, curiosity got the better of her, and she lit a lamp while Eros was sleeping, which caused him to abandon her. Then she could start her journey of rewriting her soul contract with Eros. However, instead of confronting Eros directly, the young and naïve Psyche put all her faith to save her marriage in someone else’s hands by approached the Goddess Aphrodite in order to win Eros back, and yet again entered another soul contract with Aphrodite. This involved four very difficult and life threatening tasks and illustrates that we will go to incredible lengths to try to live up to the terms of our soul contracts.

My story: After having embodied the element of fire for two weeks, I have spent two weeks in the element of Air, which caused me to face my limiting soul contract of having agreed in childhood to this notion that life is all about “chopping wood and fetching water”. In my underworld journey, I had to lay down the non-negotiable and unapologetic boundaries with regard to how much time I spend each week working, and on what (does it bring me joy?), and how much time I spend relaxing by myself, as well as with my beloved. I had to call on the fierce deadly goddess, who lurks beneath the surface to use the element of Air (my throat) to advocate for my boundaries. Sometimes this process is messy, and it is certainly not very pretty, but we can expect that when soul contracts have existed for years, if not life times. Now I am ready for an adventure of my own choosing….!

If you need assistance in your underworld journey of rewriting your soul contracts, I offer 6 shadow work sessions:

Photo credit: @silverwolf_studios

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