shamanism

SHAKTI EMBODIMENT SHIP

There is peaceful. There is wild. I am both at the same time. 
— sum

I had doubts, resistance, and endless excuses for not joining the Shamanic Shakti & Tantrika Arts Retreat with Anna Maria and Mira Dakini in Bali. The timing, the price, the work I needed to do, this, that, and the other. 

When I shared my concerns, Anna Maria listened to each one so patiently.

Rather than spend time addressing each, she took a deep inhale and said “I hear you.” Then she asked, “what is your intention, what is desire?”

“My desire is to reconnect with my body, my energy, and my spirit. To come into a State of Grace. To recover and reawaken the SHAKTI (Divine Feminine) within me.”

And then I added, “I have never been on a women’s retreat.”

IMG_3308.jpg

She smiled radiantly and with her all knowing mystic eyes, she peered into the ancient moonlit caves of mine. In that moment, it was as if she read my soul’s story containing the answers to my future. Then she replied, and I can’t remember if it was words or without but I felt it, “When you’re ready, I’ll be there.”

A few weeks out and I still hadn’t committed. My mind, like usual, was running the various scenarios over and over again, unable to come to a decision. 

Then in a dream, a vision came to me.

I saw Anna Maria aboard a massive wooden ship with white sails headed towards an uncharted island. Like a sorceress, she wielded a staff of pure white light. Like a goddess, her white dress billowed as the wind blew fiercely. Like a warrior, her eyes unbreakable, determined, full speed ahead. 

Then like magic, a dozen other women in all white appeared. I heard the soothing sounds of the Harmonium begin, followed by the embodied voices of these Shakti’s at sea. And then, and then! Just on the other side of Anna Maria, I saw her. I saw a woman that looked familiar but who I had never seen before. I saw a woman who was centered, clear, and true. I felt a spirit that was ready for anything. I heard the heartbeat of a whole, pure, indestructible...ME. 

It became crystal clear, “You’re going.”

IMG_3329.jpg

WELCOME TO THE SHIP!

What unfolded on this collective Goddessey is sacred and far more than I could ever express in words. Photos will only scratch the surface but I do want to honor, celebrate and show the world what these women are made of. 

The Shakti Embodiment Ship went full force into the wild darkness of the collective womb. 

Together...WE SANG, WE DANCE, WE SHOOK.

WE SCREAMED, WE LAUGHED, WE CRIED.

SHAKTI-TEARS

WE STORMED. WE BATTLED. WE CAME ALIVE.

WE HELD. WE RECEIVED. WE SURRENDERED.

WE RELEASED. WE MANIFESTED. WE TRANSFORMED.

WE CELEBRATED. WE HEALED. WE REMEMBERED.

WE CAME HOME TO OUR BODIES. 

WE CAME HOME TO SISTERHOOD.

WE CAME HOME TO MAMMA EARTH.

WE CAME HOME TO SPIRIT.

This experience made me feel Activated. Liberated. Reborn.

I had never gone this deep with all women before. 

IMG_1541.jpg

I hadn’t realized how much of the time I am “performing”
I hadn’t realized how much work it is to “keep it together” 
I hadn’t realized how little I was breathing until I could finally Exhale

I found peaceful
I found wild
I found parts of me I had lost years and maybe lifetimes ago

And while this wasn’t the end all be all and there will always be more to discover, the Shakti Embodiment Ship was “MAHA MASSIVE” as Anna Maria likes to say.

So thank you to all the YINspiring Shakti’s aboard this epic voyage of rediscovery and thank you to our brave leaders and their infinite hearts guiding the way, Anna Maria and Mira Dakini. We thank you, we love you, we are free!

AHEY SISTERS!

With gratitude & grace,
Lotus

SEE COMPLETE PHOTO ALBUM captured by Shivani Ma, Caitlin Beaver, and Raphaella Caflers.

DISCOVER UPCOMING EVENTS from Anna Maria and Mira Dakini:

::ESSENCE OF SHAKTI:: Sweden, August 14th-19th 

 ::EARTH PRIESTESS TRAINING:: Bali, Indonesia, November 17th-30th

P.S. be sure to check out Mira's Shakti Temple Yoga - yoga designed for honoring women's bodies - one of my favorite daily rituals of the whole retreat! 

THE SACRED ART OF SHIBARI 縛り癒

How does one put words to an experience as electrifying, enlivening, and elevating as Shibari 縛り癒 Healing?

The first word that comes to heart is "Yugen" a Japanese word for describing the indescribable. Yugen is a profound awareness of the universe that triggers a deep emotional response.

That's what Bodhi Zapha's Shibari Workshop gave me.

Shibari 縛り癒 Healing  | Bodhi Zapha 
"A Shibari healing session involves working with ropes and meditative states to channel energy, feelings of surrender and connection with transcendental consciousness free from the limitations of the body." — Bodhi Zapha

In this sacred art form, Bodhi is a Shamanic Alchemist transforming what was once an act of torture and suffering into an initiation into conscious healing, pure beauty, and great fun!

Shibari 縛り癒 Healing has been likened to "a hot bath for your energy body", "meeting the edge of your humanity", "touching the void", "embracing the somatic landscape of vulnerability and surrender".

Shibari 縛り癒 Healing builds a bridge between the conscious and subconscious mind, the mind and body work together to bring a state of peace to the being. In this twilight place the mind is in resonance with it's own deeper intelligence, melting into source energy, the place from whence we all derive.

The singularity, the core of existence beyond duality. To experience oneness with this core universal energy realigns the individual with his or her own true essence leading to profound self evolution and reconnection to spirit.

My first experience with Shibari 縛り癒 Healing was completely unanticipated. Through the experience of being tied and un-tied, I was swiftly transported into a state of total surrender.

In that sacred space, I felt a soul wound hidden with me unlock and slowly come undone. I dove deep and discovered that under layers and layers, I have a profound feeling of distrust. Distrust for others, distrust for self, distrust in the Divine. Like no one and nothing can truly hold me.

Opening something like that can be quite startling and unnerving but the space was held so beautifully that it allowed for a gentle unraveling. My Shibari partner remained by my side and I was able to come to a place of wholeness and willingness to release this distrust and begin to rebuild my faith. 

From that session on, every experience we shared flowed. Each moment presented a new learning, teaching, and delight. Bodhi took us through various tying techniques and fun tantra exercises like "Predator and Prey" (aka Hunter and Hunted) where you take on different masculine and feminine roles to express and explore the wildness within.

Through Bodhi's Shibari workshop, I also learned more about the Wheel of Consent, a wheel that presents the spectrum of Doing/Not Doing and Giving/Receiving where there are four main actions of: Serving, Allowing, Taking, and Accepting.

Bodhi shared that in relationships it is often that one person is giving, say for example a man is giving his partner a massage. In this case, he is giving and feels he is SERVING his partner. She feels she is ALLOWING him to do what he wants to do. But no one is RECEIVING.

We practiced each of these and it was amazing to go full on into each. Particularly with TAKING. I've never been given permission or allowed myself to fully TAKE. It's been deemed as "selfish" and "wrong" and dependent on the context it can be. But in relationship where boundaries are clear and consent is given, it can be an opportunity to step into your power in a very sexy and invigorating way. It's also really exhilirating to be taken by your partner, to see them in their full power! 

This insight alone was worth the cost of the entire workshop. I now feel in-freedomed to introduce and practice giving, receiving, allowing, and taking in future relationships.

To conclude, the Shibari 縛り癒 Healing workshop was significant. I'm stunned by how much we covered in just two days together. 

I feel tremendous respect for this healing art and immense gratitude for the opportunity to explore Shibari as a new expression of sexuality, sensuality, and spirituality. 

Thank you to Bodhi for showing us the ropes (pun intended!) and to my fellow Shibari Initiators for a most transformative experience 🙏🏽.

Join the next 2 day Instructive Shibari Healing Adventure in Koh Phangan, Thailand on August 13-14th or treat yourself to a private Shibari 縛り癒 Healing session with Bodhi directly.

AHO!

With gratitude and lots of spanks,

Lotus 

READY TO BE A WATERFALL

Anna Maria Magdalena at the base of Les Waterfall in Bali, Indonesia

Anna Maria Magdalena at the base of Les Waterfall in Bali, Indonesia

A waterfall doesn’t hold back.

At her peak, she is powerful and mighty. Pouring down with full force, she doesn’t worry about whether she is too much or not enough. She radiates. She cascades. She overflows. Her liquid light reflecting the sun.

At her base, she is nurturing and healing. Running like a river, she is fluid, momentous, and abundant. She doesn’t judge, edit or criticize. She surrounds. She embraces. She gives life. Her unconditional love flowing freely from the Earth.

For so long, I've held back.

Afraid of stepping into my full power. Owning my whole truth. Expressing the immensity of my darkness and my light. Like so many of us, I have been contained and conditioned, repressed and restrained. Whether explicitly or implicitly, externally or internally I've been under control and made to play small.

In January, I was guided through a powerful clearing session when I had a vision. I saw myself at the bottom of a well, rain pouring down, in tears. I saw my father looking down at me, not able to understand my emotional waters. Not sure what to do, he walked away.

I saw others pass by, some filled their cups to the brim while others ignored me entirely. I felt an urge to bring them inside, express myself, share more of me, but I was afraid of being too much. I was afraid that if I showed them who I really am I might drown them or that if I gave them everything I might still not be enough. So for protection, I contained myself in a well. 

Fast forward to May, one of the lead facilitators who had guided me through the clearing session invited me to her women’s retreat in Bali, Indonesia.

The word facilitator does not do this woman justice. This super soul is a divinely appointed Shamanic Earth Priestess, Spiritual Guide, and Bringer of Light. Her name is Anna Maria Magdalena and through her Shamanic Shakti & Tantrika Arts women's retreat, she led 14 Women on what I like to call the "Shakti Embodiment Ship", a collective Goddessy to discover the divine feminine within. 

While the inner work was challenging, all in all, the entire retreat was like the 12 days of Christmas, gift after gift after gift. But the most generous gift Anna Maria shared was bringing us to her home on the sacred land at Les Waterfall in North Bali.

The intention with the Waterfall excursion was to release what is no longer serving us, creating space for calling in and manifesting our dreams. At the base of Les Waterfall there’s a large lingam shaped rock, which they call the “Pillar of Light”. When letting go, you face the Pillar, holding on for dear life. When calling in your dreams, you turn around with the Pillar at your back towards the light.

It was a deeply moving experience watching each woman go under the waterfall one by one. Some screamed, some surrendered. I didn’t know what each woman was going through but I could feel and see the transformation transpiring.

During catalytic moments like these I usually come in with a crystal clear intention. I am strongly attuned to what needs to clear and what I desire to invite in but this time, nothing came. Imagine, a woman who loves words and no words arrived.

I was the last Shakti to go underneath the waterfall. As I walked towards Anna Maria, she took my hand smiling and said, “Welcome to the Ship.”

When I went in, the waterfall engulfed me. She didn’t stop to ask what I wanted, what temperature I liked or how much pressure felt good. She beat down on me relentlessly. She didn’t hold back. I was so struck by her power, all I could do was lean into her and feel her full force.

As I did, my mind started racing, what should I be letting go of? This is an important moment, what do I have to say? I struggled. It was so intense. My mind went blank. The waterfall was so strong that my swimsuit nearly came off. I finally realized there was nothing I could do, nothing to achieve. Slowly, I surrendered.

Minutes felt like hours as I stayed still and listened. Then I heard a soft whisper, “I am done being a well.”

I heard it again a bit louder, “I am done being a well.” Again and again. “I am done being a well.  I am done being a well. I am done being a well.” As this happened, I began to play out all the micro-moments where I had been a well. Contained. Constrained. Repressed. Afraid of my femininity, my sexuality, my sensuality, my power. I felt the pain of holding myself back, controlling myself for years and I wailed.

Then the time came to turn around and face the light. Boundless water continued to beat down and I felt like I might drown. But rather than fight it or fear it, I drank it in and received it.

It was in that moment, drinking in her liquid light that I heard another whisper spring from inside of me,“I am ready to be a waterfall." Another time, clearer, "I am ready to be a waterfall." Again and again ringing, vibrating through my body, "I am ready to be a waterfall. I am ready to be a waterfall. I am ready to be a waterfall."

Les_Waterfall_Bali

Then it all came together.

I bellowed from the center of my womb to the top of my lungs:

I AM DONE BEING A WELL. I AM READY TO BE A WATERFALL.

Declaring my power. Owning my truth. Overflowing in love.

When I came out of the waterfall, Anna Maria was there. I looked into the ocean within her eyes. She held my feet to ground me. She blessed my body and received me into her loving arms. We laughed out loud.

And that’s when I finally understood, I was never a well, I have always been a waterfall. 

Stunning photography by Eva Kroes, Creatress at  Orgone Knights

Stunning photography by Eva Kroes, Creatress at Orgone Knights

Infinite gratitude to Anna Maria and the Shakti's aboard this Goddessy. Thank you for your bravery in crossing the chasm of this epic voyage together.

We are all light. We are all love. We are all beauty.

AHEY SISTERS,

Lotus