Happy Spring Equinox!
Or, “Happy Autumn Equinox” if you are in the Southern Hemisphere! Either way, whatever the time of year right now, the Spring Equinox is a time of rebirth and renewal, symbolizing a fresh start and a time to set new goals. It is an opportunity to think about where we want to be in the future and what we need to do to get there.
Spring Equinox CHARACTERISTICS:
TIME OF DAY: early morning (6 am)
CHAKRAS: heart chakra
PLANT CYCLE: shoots & buds
ANIMALS: flying animals
SENSES: touch, sensation
STAGES OF LIFE: new life, infant
CHALLENGING EMOTIONS: anxiety and worry
ACTION: thinking & considering
LEARNING CYCLES: theory & ideas
STICKING POINTS: indecision, procrastination
CAUSES OF BLOCKS: judgments
HEALED BY: acceptance (of self and/or others)
CORE CONDITION: unconditional positive regard
STRENGTHS: thoughtful, planning well
CONNECTING TO THE TIME OF YEAR
Spring is a time to appreciate the beauty and wonder of nature as it comes back to life. As the snow melts and the weather warms, trees begin to bud and flowers bloom, filling the air with the scent of fresh growth. Birds return from their winter migrations and can be heard singing in the trees, while butterflies and bees flit from flower to flower, pollinating as they go. The days get longer, and the sun shines brighter, providing a perfect opportunity to explore and enjoy long walks in nature. In doing that, try to see past the modern human world and really notice nature, and the signs of Spring all around you.
In the previous two stages of the year, Winter and Imbolc, the focus is on resting and letting things go. Having done that, Spring is a time for the new to emerge.
EMBRACING CHANGE – WHERE WE GET STUCK?
… in that way, we can get stuck in Air; in our heads, in indecision, procrastination, hesitation, anxiety, and never acting on our plans. If we wish to break that pattern, the need is to learn about healthy goals, and how to turn plans into action.
HEALTHY GOALS ARE MEANT TO BE ADAPTIVE
Unfortunately, many people believe that goals must be rigid and unchanging, which can lead to disappointment and frustration, and a sense of failure. Consequently, people sometimes have an aversion to setting goals, as they don’t want to feel “tied down” or restricted. However, this is wonky thinking. Healthy goals are not set in stone. They are meant to be flexible, and adapt to changing circumstances. They are a general direction or destination that is adjusted along the way. Healthy goals are empowering. They give a sense of direction, of purpose, and a direction to grow in. And in fact, if you really look at nature at this time of year, this is what almost everything is showing us. Most plants and animals are full of purpose and direction. They know their goals and what it is they want to be. And they are busy getting on with it, and adapting and being flexible if needed too. It is we humans who get lost and stuck. When this happens, re-connecting with Nature, really connecting to it and learning from it, can reinvigorate us and help free us up again.
It’s crucial to remember that healthy goals should not be a burden or source of stress. Rather, they should provide motivation and a sense of purpose. If we allow ourselves to go with the flow without any direction, we may feel aimless and unfulfilled.
NOT MAKING A DECISION IS STILL A DECISION!
When we fail to make a conscious decision, we are still making a decision based on unconscious impulses and decisions. It’s important to become aware of this, in order to gain greater control over our lives.
Remember, in shamanism, things are as they are because of the stories they choose to tell themselves. So we need to get hold of our stories, and make them as conscious as possible. These stories can be your personal stories – the scripts, meanings, roles and history that you (usually unconsciously) tell yourself. They can also be family scripts and stories that we have adopted and taken into ourselves, and even older ancestral stories, and wider cultural stories and so on. Burt Hellinger, in his Family Constellation work, saw families as living organisms with their own life and roles. Each member of the family is “slotted into” a particular role or place in the family system, and when one person dies, another person is then slotted into that role. These are all strong unconscious processes. Until we bring these into consciousness, it is these that are really making our decisions and choosing our goals. Becoming aware of them can allow us to make more conscious decisions and take control of our lives. Instead of being stuck, or telling ourselves that we are “going with the flow” (in reality, acting out of unconscious impulses), we can free ourselves and, like the rest of nature, become what we are really meant to be.
exercise: MAKING DECISION-MAKING CONSCIOUS
This is a goal setting exercise, about making your choices clearer and more conscious. Even if you don’t do it, just looking honestly at the parts of you that are resistant to doing it, can be illuminating and highly useful!
- Where do you want to be in 5 years from now (or, even 19 years if you wish)? As pointers, think of different areas of your life: work, home, relationships, health, creativity, your shamanic practice, and so on.
- Then, in relation to that, where do you need to be this time next year?
- Then, in relation to that, where do you need to be in 6 months?
- In relation to that, where do you need to be in 6 weeks (Beltane)?
- In relation to that, what do you need to be doing now?
- Put reminders in your diary.
- Remember, when you come to revise and reset goals, goals are meant to evolve and be flexible, responsive and adaptable.
- Be kind to yourself, and befriend your resistance (really, get to know your resistance and listen to it and what it needs, and be compassionate and kind towards it), whilst remembering though, it no longer has to be in charge!
- Goals need to be realistic (no magical thinking!), and ethical (otherwise no true shamanic Guides will help you).
- Whether you meet all your goals isn’t really the point. Instead, having a healthy sense of purpose and direction, and flexibility in that, is healing and healthy.
Then, do shamanic journeys to ask for help. For help with your goals, and equally importantly, for help in healing any wounded parts of you that would otherwise get in the way. You might draw from the focus of Falcon or Heron, the courage of Lion, the industry of Bee, the steadfastness of Wolf, the cleverness of Fox or Raven, the perspective of Eagle, or so on. Or be healed by the joy of Spring Flowers, the abundance of Pollen or Insect, or the persistence of River in finding a way to the Sea. The healing and teaching is all there, if you just seek it out, ask, and learn from it.
Remember, breaking down your goals into stages is not about trapping you, but about taking control of your choices and developing adaptability and flexibility. The process can elicit resistance, but examining the source of that resistance can reveal an issue with one of the elements from the medicine wheel. You may feel overwhelmed by possibilities, feel the need to be spontaneous (which can actually mean acting on unconscious scripts), resist change and cling to the past, or find it difficult to let go and move forward. Even just exploring these issues and examining those parts of you can be valuable in itself.
THE FIRST-STEPS INTRODUCTORY COURSE – may 2023
The essential introductory course for anyone wishing to explore this approach.
Dates: 4 Sunday sessions, May 21, 28, June 11, and 18.
Times: 4 pm start (UK time), each online meeting is 3 – 4 hours long.
Flexible study. You can either attend the sessions live, or if you can’t make the course times or dates, you can do the course at your own pace and time by watching the recordings of the online sessions. Recordings are made of all the theory presentations, journey instructions, and Q&A discussions, and are available for a further 12 months after the last online session. Plus, once you have done a First-Steps course, you can do any subsequent ones as revision, free of charge.
IF YOU HAVE DONE THE FIRST-STEPS
April to May 2023. EXPLORING THE SHAMANIC UPPER-WORLD. A Further-Steps course. We don’t get the chance to run the Upper-World courses that often, so we are pleased to have this opportunity. More details here.
July to September 2023. THE TREE OF LIFE (sometimes called “The Totem Pole”): Shamanism, the Chakras, and the Human Body. A Further-Steps course. This course is usually very popular. It contains a wealth of information, and really helps anchor shamanic practice in a highly somatic, grounded and experiential way. More details here.
November to December 2023. FINDING YOUR WILD SOUL. A Next-Steps course. Discover practices to connect to your authentic, fully alive, wild and free Lower-World Soul. Learn how to come back to “right-relationship” with your true self, with other humans, and with the Other-Than-Human too. More details here.