“Drawing this Rune may mark a time of joyful deliverance, of new life, a new path. A Rune of great power, receiving it means that you now have the strength to achieve completion, resolution, from which comes a new beginning.”
“As you resolve and clear away the old, you will experience a release from tension and uncertainty.
You may be required to free yourself from a rut, habit or relationship; from some deep cultural or behavioral pattern… The time of birth is always a critical one. Movement can involve danger, and yet movement that is timely leads out of danger.” -Ralph H. Blum
Runes are the letters in the runic alphabets which were used to write various Germanic languages before the adoption of the Latin alphabet and for specialized purposes thereafter, some of the specialized purposes being divination.
Today I had a tarot card reading specifically for my upcoming trip and the reader asked me to pick a rune out of bag. I picked the rune pictured above. It gave me chills. The meaning was potent because my astrologer has been telling me for years that I’m “pregnant”, ready to give birth to something BIG, something that will rock my world. Or THE world. She has told me more than once that I am at the end of a learning cycle, near completion. Done marinating as I like to say.
What is fascinating to me is that this rune is about male fertility AND the Moon, which is feminine energy. That’s fine because I am a woman with more yang energy than yin although yoga has balanced that out over the years.
The first Osho-Zen tarot card drawn in the tarot reading was “traveling.” Coincidence? I don’t believe in coincidences. Every card after that had words such as rebirth, totality, breakthrough, silence. Breakthrough, busting out of stale paradigms, I can dig it. The reader said that when I return from India things will be very different for me in my personal yoga world, that I should seriously consider finding a space for teaching.
I’m going to Varanasi, the city where the dead are cremated on the banks of the Ganges and their ashes thrown into the holy river. Death and rebirth.
The title is tongue-in-cheek. I wish all my blog readers — and haters, especially the haters — a joyFULL and metta filled New Year and indeed, the same for all of 2012.
Looking back over 2011 I learned a lot this year — learned a lot in a somewhat quiet way, not so much in the hit-ya-over-the-head type of way. And what I learned was yeah, it IS all about me. Really.
The year started off with a bang as I had decided to stop writing after writing this blog for 6 years. Then this Yoga B.I.T.C.H. returned, renewed and refreshed. I did my thing all year, teaching my students and going for a few trainings, and then I hit the wall. I almost quit teaching this year and then I got re-inspired. I collaborated on a new and (we think) powerful Therapeutic Yoga Training that has garnered a lot of interest so far — but not where I live. But I’m OK with that finally. Esalen has asked us to send our yoga resumes. Yeah, you bet your asana I want to teach at Esalen. I’ve finally decided to conduct a teacher training and I’m planning a Yoga & Spirituality Retreat in March of 2013 where the Therapeutic Yoga Training will be an option.
I also decided not to allow myself be ruled by the current yoga business paradigm because I am so much more than that. Two yoga teachers who trust my vision are on board and if it’s meant to be, it will be. I honestly don’t care what the local yoga studio does because frankly, that business model is tired and stale and the people I want to teach to aren’t those people anyway. To that end, I decided to start a non-profit corporation in spite people telling me not to do it. Henry Ford once said that if he had asked people what they wanted they would have said “faster horses.” Think about it. I stopped allowing people without vision into my life. But a praying mantis taught me my biggest lesson.
My biggest lesson was listen to my heart.
Of course I know that I’ve been doing that for years, listening to my heart and to my second brain, my gut. But somehow I had lost my way a bit this year, I can’t explain exactly how. Maybe it was by trusting people too much, by expecting to be treated as I treat people when I should have no expectations at all. Yes, trust is a positive thing, but not at the cost of denying yourself. My life lesson at this stage of my 57 years on this Earth is that I am not responsible for anyone’s happiness and no one is responsible for mine. The key is to let go of everyone, and I mean everyone, who do not have your best interests at heart, the ones who do not support you, the ones who can not make the least bit of effort to sustain a relationship. Get rid of the “iffy” people as I call them. Life is too short for peoples’ “bar talk.” That’s over and done with, and like anywhere else, the yoga world has lots of bar talk. My Kali Sister Svasti has some good advice about what she has learned in her 40 years on the planet.
While that lesson has been rolling around in my consciousness for quite some time, it took events of this year to solidify it. Intuitively and energetically I know that my yoga trainings early next year in India — one with A.G. Mohan, and my 6th time at Desikachar’s school — are the culmination of my beginning. A cycle has come to an end. The long beginning was my 10 years of a yoga teaching. I learned that you can’t seriously refer to yourself as a teacher unless you’ve taught for at least 10 years. Sorry if that offends anyone. On second thought, no, I’m not sorry. I’m being real.
I also know intuitively and energetically that I am going to give birth to something potent and profound. Don’t mistake my confidence for arrogance. I know this as sure as I knew for two years that I had to be at the Kumbh Mela in Haridwar last year. Spiritual adepts have been telling me this for years — that the years 2012-2014 are going to be a rebirth. But you have to die to be reborn. Dying never bothered me, it’s living that’s hard.
We’ll see what Varanasi has in store. I’ll be there at the end of my trip at the end of March. Varanasi is also referred to as Benares or Kashi, the city of cremations, a city of death and rebirth, a city that like Haridwar last year, I know in my bones I must be there at that time of my life. North of Varanasi is Sarnath where Buddha did the First Turning of the Wheel of Dharma on the Four Noble Truths. One city of endings, one of beginnings. Between trainings I’m spending my time in Varkala in the south, where there is a 2,000-year old Janardana Swami Temple, a temple to Vishnu that is referred to as “Benares of the South.” In Varanasi I’m staying near Assi Ghat, the same ghat where Krishnamacharya stayed when he studied in Varanasi in the early 20th century. My India trips are always filled with such serendipity.
I’m ready for a new beginning. I believe you either lead, follow, or get the hell out of the way. Those are your three choices in life and I don’t have time for vanilla or beige anymore. As Danielle LaPorte writes:
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.