Tag Archives: astrology

energy and totems and mantises, oh my…

may she have a fortunate rebirth

Before any of you start reading, check in and decide whether you believe in energy work, past lives, totem animals, or anything else that is considered new agey woo-woo stuff.  If you don’t, stop reading now because you will hate this post.  If you’re not bothered by what I am about to say, keep reading.

It is rare that I write about my energy work.  I’ve been told I have a gift, but for the most part people just think it weird or don’t believe me or want a definition of it that I don’t have.  Some people think I am a healer, but I never call myself that.  For one thing, I am clairaudient and clairsentient, always have been.  I am a reiki master, but I don’t like to call myself that either because #1, reiki is too puny of a word for what I do, and #2, I am not a master anything because it’s not about that.  Some have called me a “yoga master” but the word “master” embarasses me.  I have been told, however, that when I am ready to fully embrace my power, only then will I come into my own.

Just like in the yoga biz in the energy worker biz people in the West are impressed by pieces of paper and titles and with whom one studies and who talks the loudest about what they do.  Just like in the yoga biz the people with the most letters behind their names are the most successful, “successful” being a relative term.  I don’t advertise, never have, and I usually do energy work for free. I do my work mostly in the domestic violence shelter where I teach.  The women believe I am a curandera.  They don’t need to be convinced by any certificates.

People in India “get” what I do much more than anyone here.  Indians have a way of accepting siddhis as a natural aspect of the person while Westerners have that uberduality of mind that needs to over-analyze and separate and intellectualize everything.  Yes, I said siddhis because it has been written about for centuries in Yoga and Buddhist texts that siddhis naturally arise or are enhanced by yoga and meditation practice.  Western uberduality doesn’t track well with Eastern spirituality.  Western minds can not accept that sometimes there are no explanations for things.

Even energy workers need to visit other energy workers, so I go a woman who is above my level, so to speak.  I can’t explain what she does or how she does what she does, I just accept it, but the best way I can describe it is that she gets the mojo down to the cellular level and works on your DNA.

For a few months now I’ve been feeling depressed and stuck with my yoga teaching, so much so I have felt like quitting teaching.  During my visit with her she used the words “hopelessness” and “despair” to describe my feelings and she felt a deep sadness in me.  She asked how I would feel if I quit teaching and the first word that came to my mind was FREE.  I told her that I felt my upcoming trip to India was going to be some type of culmination, that I will be finishing a cycle.  She agreed.  I feel this in my bones just as I had felt for two years that I had to be at the Kumbh Mela in Haridwar in 2010.  Nothing was going to keep me from it.  According to my natal chart, I will see some big shifts during 2012-2013 — what my astrologer has read in my chart for the last 7 years or so has always been right on.  My journey thus far has been a long marinating of the yoga meat and as my astrologer tells me from my chart, I’ve been pregnant for a long time and the shifts will be a birthing of something new and different.  We shall see.

The energy worker told me that before a jump up the consciousness ladder, the person usually feels they are in their darkest hour and that there is no way out of the black hole of despair.  I have been feeling so stuck for months that I felt there was no way out.  She did her spiritual counseling and I got on the table for her mojo.  Every time she does her work I experience visions and this time was no different, however, I saw something that I have not seen in a long time, something I used to regularly see years ago in meditation:  me in orange robes on a ghat on the Ganges but all I saw were my hands and feet.  Now I know why the first time I saw a photo of a sadhu on a ghat on the Ganges in Varanasi made me weep uncontrollably — because it looked so damn familiar and filled me with such a sense of loneliness, it was like a longing of wanting to go home.  In my mind’s eye I also saw water, as if I was being washed over, like I was being dunked under water like in a Pentecostal baptism.  I was underwater on my back and could see blue sky through the surface of the water.  I was underwater but it wasn’t scary.  It was peaceful and I didn’t struggle and a thought flashed through my mind, “this must be what it’s like to die.”  After five trips to India I am finally going to Varanasi, ending my trip there.

Then I saw what looked like a segmented egg case or a cocoon, something symbolizing birth.  The end of it opened up and in my mind’s eye I watched but nothing came out…then the session ended.  I told her what I saw but I knew what I described wasn’t exactly right.  On my way home I visualized drawing that segmented thing on a piece of paper and it came to me — it was the segmented abdomen of a female praying mantis, ready to lay her egg case.

My vision suddenly became crystal clear because a praying mantis made her home on my veranda all summer.  Never left.  I saw her every day and I watched her slowly die there when it became cold.  Of course one can say that she never left because she had plenty to eat — my gardens go up the veranda so she had her pick of juicy insects to devour.  But she was always on my door or siding or in the chairs or on the table.  I was so tuned into her that I knew when she was dying and I would pick her up and stroke her head and body.  I would try to put her in a comfortable spot every day but she always found her way back to my chair.  Then one day she no longer moved.

People who have strong connections to the Earth know that animal totems pick us, we don’t pick them, so I researched the symbology of the praying mantis.  It is a powerful totem animal for healers and they represent stillness and going within.  I read that mantis medicine is about the creative process of becoming:  “if praying mantis is your totem or has crossed your path, you may be a hunter of hearts in a world that has closed theirs.  You may do this … as one who meticulously pursues his or her dream.”

In Native American spirituality there are those who can read “signs.”  Interestingly enough, for a long time I also had a bumblebee nest inside my veranda and bees, especially bumblebees, are also totems of spirituality.  For a few years a hawk would land in my backyard every New Years Day and stay in a tree all day, never moving.  Hawks are also powerful totems and are seen as visionaries and messengers in Native American spirituality, the first spirituality I ever studied:

“Often they feel misunderstood in that when they attempt to deliver an important message others may shy away from it….

Hawk medicine people like many who carry strong predator totems may be shunned by others who sense and fear their inner power. Others may sense that this is a person who can see straight through them and as many folks think in terms of judging things as being good or bad, they are afraid that the Hawk person will see who they “really” are…

Red Tailed Hawk – An intensified Life force, often those who carry this Hawk medicine have Pluto and Mars strong in the horoscope. These folks are able to achieve great things through persistence and sheer strength of will.”

A Native American friend named me Loba because he said wild women and wolves are always misunderstood and feared.  The hawk in my yard was always a Red Tailed Hawk and both Pluto and Mars are heavy in my natal chart.  My Mars is in Capricorn which relates to my Life Lesson:  Responsibility for Self Only.  The energy worker told me that my authentic path is ultimately walked alone:  it has to be that way because there are very few people who will understand it.  Pluto, besides being the planet of Death, is also the planet of Spirituality.

My bones tell me why I have been drawn to Varanasi on my next trip, just as sure as I knew why I had to be at the Mela at that particular time in my life.

One must die in order to be reborn.

an attitude of gratitude

Today is my birthday. And that scary picture of me (and my boyfriend Harry, or Hari as I used to call him) is circa 1971 when I was a young hippie chick in high school. I killed too many brain cells back then to remember who took that picture.

And how often do you get an email from The Universe on your birthday?….

Hey!! Sama, there’s not been a single day in your life when you’ve been anything but magnificent. Give this to yourself.

Every day you move mountains, touch lives, and perform miracles.

Every day you’re a success, a hero, an example.

And every day you change the world for the better…

The Universe

If any of you would like to get daily personalized messages from The Universe, you can sign up at The Adventurers Club – Thoughts Become Things. Yeah, yeah, I know…none of us need any more emails in our inbox, but it’s kind of neat to get a personalized message from the Universe!

I’ve been around the sun over 50 times now, and every year on my birthday I look back over my life. I can honestly say that I have no regrets, not even about the bad things I’ve experienced because I’ve learned lessons from it all. I don’t regret the drugs I took or hanging out with the people I hung out with, some good, some not so good, some wild and crazy, and others, just crazy. I moved out when I was 18 and never looked back, and for a while making it to age 21 was a little iffy.

Those of you who have read my very early postings know that I dabbled in yoga and meditation in my college days, when yoga was seen as the milieu of half-n@ked hippies sitting around chanting OM. My claim to fame is OMing with Buddhist and Beat Poet Allen Ginsberg at a hippie party, and no, none of us were half-n*ked, but I do remember some wacky tobacy and Ripple wine. On a quest for something more, I started reading the books of the Eastern wisdom traditions even earlier, when I was in high school.

Then my life detoured taking many twists and turns until I found the road sign again that pointed the way back to the Path. I believe there are no coincidences, and yoga brought me back home to myself, to the me that used to be, sans drugs and craziness this time. It is said that yoga connects or re-connects us to our True Self….I know it has in my case, and I’ve had a consistent practice for about 10 years now, and teaching for six. The rewards of yoga for me are so much more than physical — although the physical practice keeps me flexible and open and strong, the non-physical practice makes me whole. My meditation practice keeps me on an even keel, keeps me focused on the NOW, keeps me from becoming reactionary and held prisoner by my emotions or erratic thoughts. My spirituality feeds my soul.

A few years ago I had my birth chart done, and during our first meeting the astrologer told me that she has rarely seen a chart as powerful as mine because of the way certain planets line up. Pluto is very heavy in my chart, Pluto being the planet of death but also the planet of spirituality. She told me that according to my chart, the first months that I spend in India will be the most perfect times in my life to be there. She did my chart before I went on my first trip and she told me that “it will feel like you are going home.” She was right. Dead-on right. The waves of recognition that flooded over me the minute my foot hit Indian soil were too strong to be denied, and I had some deep emotional responses to certain areas in Tamil Nadu.

After my second trip to India I did my “astro travel” birthchart at Astro.com, and my Moon and Pluto (there’s that planet again!) lines intersect right through Tamil Nadu, in the exact spot where I travel. The crossing of Moon and Pluto means “there is a tremendous potential for transformation in this region…the path towards catharsis under Pluto’s guidance often leads through a valley of tears, but once you are through it, you will receive completely new insights. Mighty energies operate under this crossing. Repressed memories, past emotional hurts, and unprocessed fears come into consciousness to make you look at events of your past which you thought were long forgotten, as a result of which you experience cathartic releases…” Hmmmm….maybe that’s why I broke down in those Murugan temples…..

My astrologer has said that according to my chart I have not even begun to reach my potential, that my 50s will be a training ground for what will come after age 60, “taking it on the road”, as she calls it. All my yoga training and spiritual retreats are preparing me for what she calls an exponential explosion into the global realm, because the “Midwest is just too small for you. You came out of the womb looking to get out of the box…” A vedic astrologer told me, long before going to India was even a thought in my mind, that somewhere between 2008-2010 I would experience “divine grace.” I don’t know what that is exactly, but it sounds good.

I’ve always taken anything adepts have told me with a huge grain of salt, if things happen, they happen, I go with the flow. I traveled overseas — solo — for the first time in my life at the fabulous age of 51, and for whatever reason the planets lined up to take me to the heart of yoga. I returned six months later, once again a solo woman-of-a-certain-age traveler.

At an age when many people start thinking about retirement, I know in my bones that the best is yet to come for me. Many my age have health concerns, but I don’t concern myself with that. My arthritis is worse than some — I developed it in my 30s, and had shoulder surgery in my 40s. I had an ovarian cancer scare that required another surgery, and that’s when I created my mantra “I AM NOT THIS BODY, I AM NOT THIS BODY, I AM NOT THIS BODY”. It works for peace of mind and perspective, believe me. If I develop an incapacitating condition, I already know where I want to spend my last days, and it won’t be in an American hospital, I can assure you.

I regret nothing, and look forward to everything that will come my way, even the unpleasant things. I decided a long time ago not to dwell on the past or worry about the future. Life is a delicious ebb and flow and I want the entire banquet, not just a few nibbles at the buffet. Yoga cultivates many things, and one thing it cultivates is an attitude of gratitude. Thank you, Life, for being an excellent teacher.