Contact Us

Use the form on the right to contact us.

You can edit the text in this area, and change where the contact form on the right submits to, by entering edit mode using the modes on the bottom right. 



Canada

604-338-4177

Ritual-based beauty for your inner shaman. Ceremonie integrates shamanic and other earth spirituality rituals with plant science to offer safe and effective skin solutions and increased well-being.

banner_blog.jpg

BLOG

Ceremonie offers the latest news and musings on beauty and skincare, shamanism, spirituality, wellness, rituals, vibrational therapy, healing modalities, and other ways to raise our vibration.

Filtering by Tag: shaman

HOW DID I BECOME A SHAMANIC PRACTITIONER? (EXPANDED)

Mimi Young

Mimi-Ceremonie-shaman.jpg

Many have asked me this question, or how did I choose to be involved with plant spirit medicine. As someone who has remained out of the public's eye, and has stayed quietly behind the Ceremonie brand, I am also beginning to become more visible, adding a distinct personal element to my work that didn't exist before. We learn so much from stories, including our own, and so I share it here:

It's has been a long journey that involves evolving through archetypes to develop an ever-increasing understanding of myself and the worlds (seen and unseen) around me. I come from a home where my mother is a devout evangelical Christian and my father, an equally devout atheist. The paradigm I was raised in was black and white - be it if it was rooted in science and the rational, or religious conditioning and tenets. Deep down, I had always connected with spirits and mysticism - my first friends, as a young child, were the great Cedar tree spirits - Grandma Tree and Grandpa Tree, as I had called them (and still do). I also spoke to fruits and vegetables (I even named a doll Celery). The rational world crept in, pressing me and I naturally lost touch with these allies for some time and became well versed and articulate in more widely-accepted world views. It can be easy to look back at those times as conforming, asleep, or a victim of patriarchy, but I also see those decades as preparatory, as many myths and archetypes that exist in Judeo-Christian were taken from older, pagan practices. In my own story, I simply learned them in chronologically reversed order, as many people today do.

After I gave birth to my first son, the Wild Woman stirred within. Some call her Lilith, some Kali, some gave her the generic name of Witch. I called her Jezebel. She frightened me. She asked all the right questions and didn't care that she didn't have a tidy answer. She was raw, brave, wildly intelligent, could smell lies from miles away, was fiercely loyal to her loved ones, and I was scared  to death to even entertain a cup of tea with her. I was secretly afraid that she would somehow seduce some sense into me and I would lose full control of who I am. I knew that she, as the Destroyer, would kill me. 

Simultaneously, my husband and I were wanting a second child, but had difficulty conceiving and keeping the pregnancies. The timing wasn't right.

The pangs for the shadow and unknown, like contractions, only became stronger. I began re-experiencing manifestations of clair-olfaction, sometimes also known as clair sentience (an intuitive gift I have had since my late teens, but had tried my best to ignore it and suppress it), the ability to smell things that aren't physically there, and then associating them with distinct messages from the spirit world. And it was a dark walk in the desert, for I had no teacher in the form of books or workshops. I searched for teachers who have this gift, but none came on my path. So I had no choice but to listen to Jezebel. She said spend time outdoors everyday. She said look for omens and symbols. She told me about Tarot, and I committed to learning the Tarot language, a visual tongue through which spirit allies can speak to me with clarity and precision. By then, we had stopped attending church, and were promptly ostracized for doing so. We kept two couple friends from that network of well over a hundred. They were the only ones who wanted to remain in our lives. (I later released this disappointment and remarkably, I am filled with so much love - even as I write this portion of my story). And so in many ways, certain things died within me - limiting, outworn beliefs, victimhood, the need to be perfect, and like a snake, I shed and emerged. I begun to understand that the Wild Woman is my greatest protector, advocator, and mother. 

Fast forward a bit and I became pregnant again. At week 15, I began hemorrhaging, which only stopped when I reclined in bed. The first day of the bleeding, I heard the doorbell ring. When I opened the door, no one was there, but when I looked up, a large Great Blue Heron flew across me and into the expansive sky. I knew that the baby would live, despite any complications. The midwife sent me for a few medical tests and science couldn't tell me why it was happening. The instruction was to remain in bed rest until the baby reached full term. 

I am a very active person, and to ask me to lie in bed for two days with the flu is a monumental task as it is. To be on bed rest for over 5 months was a demand that challenged me in a way that I had never experienced. The idea of being removed from the physical world was enormously difficult for a type A person like me to 'endure', though by week 2, I had sufficiently wrestled with this internally, that I finally said, "Oh, all right!!!! I'll start meditating, again." So meditating I began - longer and longer sessions each day. I would break them up with an online course on aromatics and skin (essential oils, plant extracts, and other natural compounds in the context of skincare), but I did meditate roughly for 5 hours a day on bed rest. It was an immensely productive and transformative use of time. I now see this as the Universe's gift to me.

One day, during a meditation, I traveled somewhere and met some talking creatures. They said some interesting and truthful things. When I came out of the trance, I knew that something remarkable had happened. I met ancient, powerful friends. I didn't yet possess the language, but I had journeyed to the Lower World and spoke with some spirit allies. It was my first shamanic experience, and though I tried, I didn't know how to return to that realm.

My second son, Kyo, was born in the spring of 2015. His name means synergy. The birthing experience was beautiful, and dare I say pleasurable (in the same way that Ina May Gaskin describes birthing can be). It was a Thursday, the day of expansive, benevolent Jupiter’s rule, and I was making eggs at the stove, when I felt a pop and an enormous waterfall rushed out of my body, and immediately following that, the pangs and the accompanying sensations. I knew he was ready, and was wasting no time.

This experience was different than birthing my firstborn. With my firstborn, it was all very new and I hadn’t stepped out of the Maiden archetype into Mother energetically, yet, but this time, I had shed my old skin and was a very different person. From a sensory perspective, I knew what I wanted. I wanted to be in my cave and no one to bother me. Any amount of reassuring back rub, loving words, helpful cup of water were all rejected. I was channeling Durga and she was sovereign and self-sufficient, and so was I during those couple of hours. I was rewriting man's definition of "labour". I was birthing, and while it was work, it was magnificent.

At one point, when I was overcame by the pressure of him and my own body, I found myself naturally travelling inwards, into my body, into my very womb. There, I was struck by an illuminating orange disc of light - I understood as the second chakra, the energy centre that governs creativity (including the birth of a child). I found Kyo, and it was apparent that he was having second thoughts about leaving the safety and warmth of my womb. I assured him that my arms would very soon be holding him, as well as my breasts, and that we would remain very close. I also shared that his brother, father, and so many others were very excited to meet him and play. With that, it took another 10 or so minutes before Kyo was born. The shamanic journey is a vehicle to meet spirits from the otherworlds, but also to welcome the transition of a baby into this one.

Back on my feet and enjoying mothering my newborn and 7 year old, I had banked so much energy while off my feet, that I had the momentum to create something that can be best summarized by the Ace of  Wands coupled with the Queen (Mother) of Pentacles. I created a toning oil to help rid water retention and toxins from being immobile for so long, and the moms around me noticed, and asked if they could buy bottles to use it as cellulite oil for themselves. And so Ceremonie was born (then called Trimaran Botanicals, renamed last year). I would begin working with essential oils and enter into a conscious trance and basically was channeling their energies and personalities, and coupled it with my own trained knowledge, began formulating. It was truly alchemical. In the certified aromatherapy world, blends are termed 'synergy'. It is wondrous how Kyo helped me birth this.

While this was happening, I asked the Universe, almost as a joke (because I didn't believe it would happen), for a shaman to show up in my life to teach me. I knew it was highly unrealistic to travel extensively to Peru with two babes (and a mortgage) in tow, so I had asked Jezebel to send  someone here in greater Vancouver where I live. And she did, one week later. My formal teacher was a female shamanic practitioner, named Leona De Lang Boom. She is a second generation modern shamanic practitioner. She began when she was 18 years old, and her mother is still active in the work. Their specialty is in past life work and have taught me how to work with psychopomps (a spirit/creature/angels that are travel companions to afterlife as well as former lives). What's absolutely incredible is when I met mine for the first time, I fell so in love with him. He's a red crown crane, and is adorable yet strong. I didn't know it at the time, but later learned that many psychopomps are cranes. 

What a wild ride, this gift called life, stranger than fiction, and wondrously beautiful. 

Love to all,

Mimi Young
founder + plant spirit medicine practitioner

Follow us on Instagram!

SENSING IN THE DARK

Mimi Young

shamanic shadow work

This Mercury Rx that has asked us to turn inwards, to swim in murkiness, to let uncertainty take the lead, to lose not in the sense of not winning, but losing in the sense of surrendering to ending cycles and embracing conditions of re-membering, redirection, and re-creation. This work is not just for Autumn and Winter. In fact, for me, this type of inner work often takes place during the Summer. Seasons aren't fixed and our internal landscapes do not just hold one archetype at a time. We can be Maiden, Mother, Wise Woman of varying degrees, of varying expressions, at varying times. Yes, we can enter internal rites of passages and initiations, but embodying archetypes need not be linear. They almost always demand incubation periods that involve some form of loss and surrender.

Many, many of my clients and friends seem to be describing they are fumbling in the dark these past few weeks (even months). A time of questioning identity, meaning, and purpose. I feel that way, too. A LOT. Humbling, disorienting, pulling and stretching. But I need this type of condition to begin envisioning fire and illumination. Darkness can be a form of playing, invoking, conjuring. And because I am there (here!) often, I am so happy to cheer you on.

Remember this: For plants, when they are confronted with environmental demands (over rain, drought, pests), their physiology responds with compounds that overtime strengthens them and lends additional nutrients to those who are fortunate to consume them. This is why Rosemary and Lavender thrive in high altitude, thin, nutrient-sparse soil rather than rich, sea level loam.

Spirit always provides timely messages. On a day when I felt drained from the constant sensing in the dark, this poem appeared to me, like a beacon:


ONE ART by Elizabeth Bishop

The art of losing isn’t hard to master;
so many things seem filled with the intent
to be lost that their loss is no disaster.

Lose something every day. Accept the fluster
of lost door keys, the hour badly spent.
The art of losing isn’t hard to master.

Then practice losing farther, losing faster:
places, and names, and where it was you meant
to travel. None of these will bring disaster.

I lost my mother’s watch. And look! my last, or
next-to-last, of three loved houses went.
The art of losing isn’t hard to master.

I lost two cities, lovely ones. And, vaster,
some realms I owned, two rivers, a continent.
I miss them, but it wasn’t a disaster.

—Even losing you (the joking voice, a gesture
I love) I shan’t have lied. It’s evident
the art of losing’s not too hard to master
though it may look like (Write it!) like disaster.


With love and in service,

Mimi Young
founder, shamanic medicine teacher + ritualist

If you enjoyed this post, and would like more, please feel free to share with your friends. I also welcome you to follow Ceremonie on Instagram or the email list! My neurofeedback work can be found via Open Minds Performance, also on IG.

2018 to 2019: Ring Out The Old, Ring In The New

Mimi Young

happynewyear

Empty glasses are scattered around, evidence of the mirth in our home these past few days. Messes were made; every pan, wooden spoon, and bowl in the kitchen was used. Today, with strong tea, was a cozy day in, the kids out to play since Vancouver is having a mild winter so far, and the adults at home (my partner and I), are transforming leftovers into soup, lazily reading new books, and leisurely packing for some days away in the woods, with the laundry machine's hum as a playlist of sorts.

Being the ritualist that I am, I am also considering how to bring in 2019. Which elements to weave in? Which spirit allies to name and invite? How to write my intentions, held carefully on sacred paper? This can't fully happen until I tune in and contemplate about 2018. 

2018, for me, was marked by a bursting heart and outrageous manifesting. A year full of surprises - terrifying, joyous, fulfilling. It was the year where I said goodbye to my day job, and leapt into the unknown. The year, if I were to define it as the Earth Dog year (not to truly end until the beginning of February to welcome in the year of Earth Pig, or Earth Boar, as some call it), was also defined by an increase of self-attunement, to self-dote and offer tenderness, clarity and breakthroughs, and even some luck. I felt held and seen, and I also had the immense privilege to hold and see others. As a recovering perfectionist, I learned to let go, let be, and let flow. Life is so much better without the strive towards perfection; rather, it’s an openness towards wholeness. Through embracing the whole human of myself, I released impoverished mindsets. In 2018, I danced til dawn to the Full Moon on a number of occasions, made time for what really mattered and continues to matter. And of course, the 'what' that matters are actually 'who's. I softened, and in the areas that were hardened, I discovered that the hardness was pain that turned to gold. 2018 was a remarkable realization of just how much I had outgrown 2017.

And while all the aforementioned centred around me (I can only speak from my perspective, after all), 2018's glory must be credited to people. Right people, right heart-place, right time. People who defy the coldness and the vacancy of unexamined, narcissistic, half-asleep lives. People who understand the value of a 5 minute long hug, who listen rather than who are impatiently waiting to speak, people who lovingly challenge because they believe and refuse to let fear make the final call, people who spread hurt-so-good laughter, people who invited and included, people who smile with every living cell, people who live what they say. Some were family or friends, many were clients, others strangers.

Ceremonie turned 3 a few days ago, on Boxing Day. As she enters into this year of being three, I am reminded of the Empress archetype in Tarot. Her corresponding number within the Major Arcana is three. Combining the fertile, nurturing Empress' energy with the warm, prosperous Earth Pig, I'd like to share my intentions for 2019. I am sharing because my life and my one-woman-company isn't just about me. Ceremonie is about CONNECTIONS - people, spirits, and the mystery of ALL THAT IS. This is why I am here. 

Here goes…

May the year 2019 be salt-of-the-earth good. 

May we be real, and experience authenticity's freedom. 

May luck be waiting for us, and follow us, too.

May the year come with a few happy surprises.

May we learn to be children again.

May we mother and father ourselves in the ways our hearts ache for.

May we honour the Divine Feminine in ALL and also nourish the Divine Masculine in ALL. He is needing Her love. We are needing Their love.

May we ride the beautiful, wild waves of flow.

May we be free to make mistakes - not ones of devastation, but worthwhile mistakes, so we learn and grow.

May we have all that we need, and have some extra to share. Even though abundance mindset says we can have our cake and eat it, too, it's far more meaningful to have our cake, and to share it. A bite of sweetness is more pleasurable than a plateful, when shared with people who ARE the sweetness of life.

May we not get sucked up into social media seduction. Conscious living cannot be defined by popularity, by pretty packages and pretty feeds, by the poetic words, by things and more things, or trips and more trips. May we commit to see and resist illusions. Illusions fuck with our heads and mute our hearts.

May we have the strength to say NO and YES, and the wisdom to know when to say what.

May we know our personal worth — unchangeable and eternal.

May we check ourselves; because there is a BIG difference between deserving and entitlement.

May we meet challenges with courage. And when we don’t understand, lean in with curiosity.

May we not make any more excuses. Let's be radically accountable.

May we attend to our gut's biodiversity AND our communities' diversity. Our health depends on both.

May the loving spirits guides and our ancestors hold us and lead the way. May we honour them and make them proud.

May we make new friends and extend our family.

If you follow this feed, and we haven't yet met in person, I hope we do that in 2019. Better yet - not hope - I look forward to meeting/serving you in 2019. I can’t wait to expand the Universe together.


Ready for 2019.

Yours,

Mimi Young
founder, shamanic medicine teacher + ritualist


If you enjoyed this post, and would like more, please follow on
Instagram and Facebook!

Image credit: Iulia Agnew for Ceremonie

CEREMONIE'S CONSECRATED PAPER

Mimi Young

consecratedpaper.jpg

When I write intentions to be used in ritual or spellwork, I craft them on paper that has been especially designed to support the work. I hold the belief that the paper itself is the sacred container for these intents, and to honour these intentions, the very words’ environment should be held with respect, beauty, and reverence. While early Taoist (Daoist) sorceresses wrote their sigils (an inscribed symbol that contains meaning and power) on rice paper and through ritual, ingested the papers containing these sigils, I follow certain aspects of this ancient Chinese tradition of my ancestors of long, long ago.

The notable parts for me are to:

  • write with intention, choosing my words carefully

  • when applicable, include any symbol or sigil to heighten the energy

  • choose special paper that is consecrated and dedicated to contain these intentions

  • when choosing the paper, to consider the ornaments/decorative elements of the paper, as well as the significance of colour

When I began taking my craft seriously, I searched far and wide for the right type of paper that held that space, and I simply couldn’t find it. I was looking for a specific energy, and even though beautiful paper abounds, none of them felt right. Simultaneously, I was also considering how to package my Ceremonie Skin + Aura care products with the same degree of respect and honour for its contents and in turn, for the people who would be using them in their own daily ritual and practice. Since I formulate, produce, and package each and every jar to order by hand, it was paramount to me that the paper that held it all together was approached with meticulous care, integrity, and purposefulness.

Having an undergrad in graphic design, I decided to create my own. It would be used for Ceremonie products as well as ritual work. I approached Hemlock Printers, a local family-owned boutique printing house located in greater Vancouver. I chose them because they were the first FSC certified printer (Forest Stewardship Certified) in North America and are known for their exacting standards. They loved my idea. And so I began my design process… and it began not in a sketchbook, but reclined, eyes closed, hands holding stones, and incense burning in the background. That’s right — I shamanically journeyed to inquire about the consecrated paper design process.

It turned out that my spirit allies and the larger plant spirit network also loved my idea. I felt so supported with their excited chatter, each expressing their enthusiasm and blessing. We discussed that we would design two sheets of ceremonial paper together. Each sheet would consist of multiple layers of plant visuals, and much of which would spotlight Fern, the queen of the primordial plant kingdom (or shall I say ‘queendom’?), as well as my personal grandmother spirit. I saw hints and flashes of what the finished papers would look like, and returned back to this consensual reality to begin the work on my computer.

The process was gentle, pleasurable, and truly felt collaborative. I felt the spirits’ presence as I played with gradients, opacities, and pantones. The brown signifies the remembrance and reconnection to Earth and the barely-there copper hue honours my own Chinese roots and uplifts the element of Metal.

The finished sacred papers were two large sheets that can be further trimmed down to suit the exact dimensional needs of each of the specific skin + aura care products. I designed the papers in such a way so that there are 8 different variations I can cut and wrap the papers around the bottles and jars. 8 is a significant number in Chinese numerology - one that symbolizes wholeness, integrity, and prosperity. I wanted the papers to pass on these vibrations to each and every individual who would be using these.

Recently, at the end of a Money Magick workshop, I was tidying up the materials at the end, when most of the attendees buzzing on the energies and plant aromas, had left for the evening. A few were still there and had mentioned how much they enjoyed writing on the Ceremonie papers that I had passed around during one of the exercises, and asked me where I purchased my paper. I hadn’t up until then, shared my story, and proceeded to. I was so touched because the three of them, mouths dropped open from the story I had just shared, then unanimously asked me to tell it again on this blog, saying that such a story of magic and intention should not be kept to oneself.

It is my hope that whether you ever attend one of my workshops, retreats, use Ceremonie products, or none of the above, that if you do practise earth-based magick or forms of ceremony, that you are reminded that the materials you use can be and should be approached with intention, dignity, and deep respect. I say this because the materials themselves are collaborators, and when the relationship comes from a place of honour, the real magick happens.

Below is a simple recipe on how to consecrate any paper you find for your own craft:

  • Find paper (can be found, purchased, upcycled).

  • Light candle.

  • Smudge self and environment with White Sage or a smokeless smudge blend that contains it, such as Ceremonie’s Sacred Smudge Mist.

  • Light incense (preferably Sandalwood or Palo Santo).

  • Invite spirit allies. This can be done with a rattle or simply by spoken word. Be clear about WHY you are inviting them.

  • Smudge the paper with White Sage.

  • Invite spirit allies to bless the paper.

  • Using just a touch of sacred oil (15 ml carrier plus 4 drops of Frankincense or Cedar), apply the oil (you need very little of it) onto your index finger and run your finger on the four corners of the sheet of paper. It is to energetically anoint the paper, NOT to make the paper oily.

  • Say aloud the full intention of the paper consecration ritual. For eg. “May this paper be the sacred container for my written intentions.”

  • Visualize the spirits and the light from the candle supporting this process.Feel the energies increase.

  • When you feel the process is complete, say, “So mote it be.”

Happy New Moon!

Mimi Young
founder, shamanic medicine teacher + ritualist

Follow us on Instagram and Facebook!

THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN SPIRITS AND GHOSTS (AND OTHER THINGS)

Mimi Young

spiritsandshaman

What is the difference between spirits and ghosts? Let me explain this from two terms used in Mandarin, which I believe can shed some light (pun intended). 'Shen' refers to spirit, which is not only the essence, the soul, but is also the multi-dimensional, energetic expression unbound by 3D physicality. This means that everything has spirit: Animals, plants, goddesses and gods, creatures of mythology, the elements, ancestors and the living, and so forth.

'Kuei' (‘Guei’), or ghosts, refer to the distinct spirits of the human dead, especially ones who are considered homeless, that is, between this world we call reality, and the realms where spirits dwell. Many times ghosts are not ven aware of the fact that they have passed on, or are lingering because they have not received the closure they are seeking before they leave this plane.

There are many different types of shamans/shamanesses, sorceresses, medicine people, and spirit folk. My work involves interacting with spirits, but not with ghosts. I sense spirits when they visit the living; they know they are only saying hello, bringing comfort or some other message. Much of my work is also working with plant spirits when I make skin + aura care. And of course, I travel to spirit worlds when I serve clients via Remote Shamanic Readings, and can channel their wisdom when I write extensively about the journeys afterwards.

Another thing - as I continue to study shamanism in human history, what I find fascinating is that there are synchronicities that defy culture and time.

  • The female shamaness / priestess came first. She is the Holy Mother. The proportion of the female healer to male was overwhelming.

  • Drums, rattles, bells were (and still) used to call spirits and induce trance states.

  • Possession is not seen as possession; it is seen as ecstasy, communion with Spirit, and this is why sex is often used as a metaphor in ritual.

  • Climbing the Universal Tree / Ladder or flight is the preferred mode of transportation to the Sky / Upper Worlds. Winged or wingless horses and birds are often the allies of choice.

  • The Bridge (sometimes a Rainbow) was often another common symbol for shamans to cross in the course of their journey to the Otherworlds.

  • The shaman’s relationship with Fire and Stone. Fire not only provides light, but is also a transformative agent. It can warm and heat, but can also burn and destroy. Soot, often used to dress a shaman's faces and body, can only be produced by fire. Fire has power over metal (stone), and it was through the merging of these two elements, that metalsmithing and alchemy was first discovered.

So what does this all mean, at least on a personal level? For me, I am reminded of how truly awe-some this connection to Spirit, our shamanic ancestors, and Earth really is. I am also immensely appreciative that I am a woman in general, but also in this practice. Lastly, I am prompted repeat what I have said on many Instagram posts that the ability to spiritually sense and heal is not available to ‘the chosen few’. These powers are very human, and are accessible for each and everyone of us. My personal believe on how to be tapped into this flow of powers is to start with the understanding of where we come from. To go inward and downward; to reconnect to the Earth and ourselves.

Big love,

Mimi Young
founder, shamanic medicine teacher + ritualist

Follow us on Instagram and Facebook!


Image credit: Iulia Agnew for Ceremonie

WHY I DON'T BELIEVE IN BALANCE

Mimi Young

The damaging pursuit of balance

The exhortation to achieve balance is not only unrealistic, but is an insufferable demand that so many modern cultures impose on women, particularly on mothers. (This is not to discredit the demands made on men, but a) I can only speak from my personal experiences of being a woman and a mother, and b) because my husband and other male friends admit to have NEVER been asked the question I am commonly asked, “How do you find balance?”).

So to answer the question, “How do you run a business, mother two young boys, make time for your relationship with your life partner, manage the house, cook, fit in self-care, practise rituals regularly, hang with girlfriends— in other words, how do you find balance as a modern woman?”

Simple answer is I don’t. I don’t even try. Balance insinuates there is an equal allocation of time and energy to each of those areas of responsibility. It implies a binary 'have achieved balance' (success) versus 'out of balance' (failure) dichotomy. And since it suggests that there is not enough time and energy to juggle it all, the mere idea of balance is a construct that comes from the perspective of lack— lack in self, lack in time, lack in resources.

It makes the assumption that I need to give myself to utter exhaustion in order to achieve the pinnacle of modernity's feminism, that is to REACH FOR EVERY DAMN THING IN SIGHT, and to ATTAIN IT ALL in order to earn the respect and adoration of the world. It speaks of an idealized, even priviledged woman who has everything she can possibly desire, in the form of balanced servings of career, family and marriage, exercise and meditation, pedicures with girlfriends, a chic home, even chic-er vacations, with a cherry on top. Fit this in with a few Instagram posts that say, "You got this, goddess" placed next to a piece of clear quartz and mug of latte. The future is female? This is not what I signed up for.

Balance, to me, is a corrupt term. A term that feeds into unbeknownst enslavement: to a mechanical sense of time, to pernicious ideals of expectations and using these external ideals as a measuring stick, and to the complete falsehood that we are superhuman. The notion of balance has dehumanized us; when we succeed we are called superwomen (or supermoms), which of course, the pedestal is then raised to an even higher bar of unsustainability, which when we cannot quite lunge there with all our plates intact, we judge ourselves inhumanely. Ask yourself these private questions: What does a 'good' mother must do to merit your badge of 'good'? What do you need to do to also merit this approval from yourself? The fact that there is any badge to me is burdensome, damaging, and squeezing every ounce of life and originality out of each and everyone of us.

When I seek answers, I look to Nature. I believe in seasons and cycles. At the moment, with the last few days of August, I have, with the exception of the commitments I have already made, am relishing in inactivity— in rest, exploration, in spontaneity. (And with those ‘breaks’ from rest, I find even greater pleasure in my work than the usual joy I experience!!). These days, my children are with me basically 24/7. And not every minute is about cuddles, fun at the beach, and Pinterest moments. There are math worksheets, silent reading periods, along with “I-am-not tired-and-don't-need-a-nap-meltdowns” and family gardening projects that not everyone is as passionate about as I am. But I digress— when the regular schedule of the academic year resumes, a different rhythm and cycle begins. There will be crunch times of fulfilling skin and aura care orders, writing deadlines for mystical workshops (yes, even mystics and healers have deadlines!), late night emailing, eating salad out of the tub at my desk, washing my hair as infrequently as when I go camping, all the while taking the kids to their activities, games, appointments, and friends' birthday parties. There will be moments when I may inadvertently place leftovers in the pantry instead of the fridge, wear the same pair of socks two days in a row, when the closest thing to a workout would be lifting the boxes of bottles and jars of glass for my orders, and my most romantic note that I will write to my partner will be a text, “Can you pick up some berries, almonds, and dark chocolate? Thanks! XO”

You would never expect all four seasons to pass through our weather system in a day, so the idea of having an equal portion of activities in a day in the name of “balance” is equally absurd. I am an advocate of cycles because even from year to year, the winter season (or any season) isn’t the same. Some are colder, others are wetter, some are both very cold and very wet, and yet some others are mild as a lamb from November through to March. Yet, from a macro view, the Earth remains the Earth. Strong, real, vibrant, resilient, and very much alive. (This is not to diminish the perils our Gaia faces from the irresponsibility of humans).

And that is the life I believe in living. One where I am in tune with myself, those around me, and the circumstances that shape things, and having the deep knowing to shift as life asks. Resilience is a flexible, undefinable, practical, and personal thing. Balance is an outward focused, mechanical, and very easily unraveled fragility. Balance, as mentioned earlier, stems from the belief that there is not enough time to do everything one believes one MUST do. Resilience comes from a sense of abundance - an abundance of self, the wealth to make innumerable adjustments, and the power to value and prioritize what one CHOOSES to do.
 

Further to the discussion of time, resources, and abundance, I'll be offering the anticipated MONEY MAGICK workshop on September 27 in Vancouver and October 14 on Bowen Island. Click HERE for more info.

Big love,

Mimi Young
founder, plant spirit medicine teacher + ritualist

Follow us on Instagram and Facebook!


Image credit: Me, captured by Iulia Agnew

JOURNEYING WITH THE DEVIL

Mimi Young

thehornedgoat

It isn't often that we willfully want to meet the Devil, but that is what I did. Last year, I was working deeply with my shadow side and led by the Light, I was told to embark on a shamanic journey to meet the infamous figure, the Horned Goat.

I was at first terrified at the thought. My mother had raised the latter half of my childhood/adolescence in evangelical Christianity, and I was duly part of church life for a number of years. I may have since left that life, but the cellular memory and conditioning, to a certain degree, had remained. What if I died during the journey? What if the Devil tempted me with a nectar so sweet that I couldn't refuse? What if the Devil blackmailed me? What if he threatened to harm my children? What if I decided to cross over and join him in hell? What if, what if, what if?!!

But I knew that I couldn't avoid it. All signs were pointing for me to journey to him: Tarot and Oracle cards pulls, random symbols that reminded me of the Devil, the appearance of horns or goats just about everywhere I turned. The Universe was calling me to, ... and then the New Moon made me do it.

So before I went down the rabbit hole, I lit an extra large black candle for protection, smudged the hell out of my room, loaded my bed with specimens of black tourmaline, aegirine, selenite, and clear quartz, anointed myself with Anointing Parfum Oils, and shook that rattle with some trepidation. Once I arrived in the Lower World, I called on my psychopomp (an astral travelling chaperone), surrounded myself with back up spirit allies, and blurted out, "I wish to meet the Devil." I felt like Dorothy asking to meet with the wicked Witch of the West, half naive, half petrified, holding my breath. I gripped the tourmaline in my hands.

A menacing, majestic black Horned Goat appeared. He had an unruly beard of mystery, worn hooves that were sharp and threatening, and emitted a scorching energy that simultaneously felt deadly cold. His blackness were both piercing and absorbing of any light around, and I felt both repulsed and attracted to his form. His scent can only be described with one word: dank, like Spikenard. His strange light eyes, centred with long, rectangular pupils, had a pull of their own. It was Goat that spoke first, "Why have you sent for me?"

I meekly replied, "I did. My name is Mimi Young. I felt such a pull to come see you, I ---"

His impatience did not allow me to finish. With his interruption, the Goat asked me to keep it short with my explanations and spare him the obvious. Of course he knows me. He asked me to present my question, upon which, I nervously replied,

"Is it true that you are the Accuser? The great Liar, as some myths describe you?"

And then the most surprising, freeing words came. The Goat admitted that he is the Accuser and the Teller of Lies, but religion has greatly understood his function, and he became the political scapegoat for crime, social inequality, collapsing economies, disease, and a host of other problems (and eventually anything the Church didn't approve, including witchcraft - will save that for another post). He was once only an archetype, a metaphor to demonstrate duality, and with time and religious agendas, became a spiritual antagonist, the ultimate symbol of an anti-God and source of absolute evil. The very concept of salvation offered by a Christ form requires a Devil. There was no room to disbelieve in a goatish devil and hell as then it would eliminate the need for a redeemer to rescue his sheep.

He did say his true work is indeed to lie - to provoke us, and it is in the accusing that our development as souls experience a catalyst. It is the darkness within each of us, not the perceived darkness external to us, that causes the most personal and universal problems. He said when one heals, the others do as well.

The Devil has power. The archetype dwells in the deepest crevices of our hearts and subconscious, and holds the keys to much of our own power. It is by understanding our perceived 'enemy' that we come to recognize our needs, our vulnerabilities, our triggers, and thus ourselves. The Goat uses his power to get our attention, to invite us to cross the abyss. When we are not conscious of our internal Devil or worse, are actively denying it by claiming it is an external force, we project our individual shadow self onto others.

I was also told that the difference between the Awakened and the Asleep is that the Awakened actively works to be willing to accept the shadow, and learns to heal by walking with the Devil throughout one's entire life. He then asked me if I was willing to go on regular walks with him, walks through fire, through what will seem like unscalable heights, through dark prisons of forgotten memories, of learning how to say goodbye again and again, and to face the greatest rejection of all - the rejection of myself from myself. In many ways, I found this deeply romantic. Not sexually per se, but romantic in the sense that the Horned Goat knows me and sees me, more than any Ascended Master.

Some may know that the word devil comes from the Greek diablos, best translated as "to throw something in your path". The Horned Goat not only throws something in my path, but walks on my path, challenging me, whispering words of doubts and fears, showing me the real, the ugly, the un-photoshoppable. I wouldn't say he's evil, though. Perhaps that's because other sources claim the word devil shares the same root word as divinity - devi (Goddess) or deva (God).

Just as the Devil card in the Tarot deck, I have come to understand that he is an agent for liberation, that is, freedom from our own shackles. I am reminded of Carl Jung's quote (also used on a recent Instagram post):

“One does not become enlightened by imagining figures of light, but by making the darkness conscious.”

And so, may we make conscious our darkness. That is the Devil's way.

Mimi Young
founder + plant spirit medicine practitioner

For those in the Vancouver area, I would love to see/meet you at an upcoming Ceremonie Workshop!
Follow us on Instagram and Facebook!


Image credits: Pinterest

THE SIGNIFICANCE OF THE NUMBER FOUR IN MYSTICISM

Mimi Young

Photo credits: Me taken by Heather Pennell

Photo credits: Me taken by Heather Pennell

The number four holds important meanings to the shaman and mystic.

There are 4 ages: the child, the adolescent, the adult, the elderly.

There are 4 winds, 4 seasons, 4 divisions of time: day, night, month, year.

There are 4 key phases of the Moon: New, Waxing, Full, Waning.

There are 4 elements: Earth, Air, Fire, Water. In Taoist and Feng Shui traditions, the correspondences of Winds/Directions/Element/Sacred Creatures (thereby another 4) connect the following: The Azure Dragon of the East represents Wood, the Vermillion Phoenix of the South represents Fire, the White Tiger of the West represents Metal, and the Black Turtle of the North represents Water. (Some also hold the belief of a fifth principle Earth/Qi /The Void, which would be represented by the Yellow Dragon of the Center).

There are 4 parts to green things: roots, stems, leaves, fruit.

There are 4 core faculties (in Tarot, it is expressed in such a way that relates to the elements): To Know, to Will, to Feel, and to Materialize.

4 is seen in Wiccan ritual, in mandalas, in contemplative labyrinths, at crossroads, in shamanic prayer.

Anyway, why all this analysis of 4? The simple answer is because it’s the foundation of the Earth’s power and grace. The slightly longer answer is because when I am “stuck”, I often find resolution by allowing the potency of the number 4 to teach me; that is, the orderly expression of Gaia to speak to me. The number 4 invites us to manifest our goals by taking practical steps. It reminds us to integrating our wisdom into the whole of our lives. 4 invites all of us to befriend the bright side of King/Yang energy to support the vigour of our dreams and plans while still honouring the dark, mysterious power of Queen/Yin potencies.

I should also mention that many Asian cultures (including my own Chinese and Taiwanese background) view the number 4 as 'bad luck', as the word 'four' share similar phonetics of the word 'death'. (In many parts of Asia, the fourth floor of buildings are skipped, much like the thirteen floor of many buildings in western countries). I personally think the homophonal qualities of four and death is actually very beautiful, as the fourth holds the end of a cycle, the unknown, and transformation in the most mundane of mathematical quantifying. That said, I do not disrespect the symbol of 4 in those cultures, in fact, I recognize just how much Asia, no matter how secular it has become, still reveres the power of symbols in their every day lives.

Bowing to your light (and darkness),

Mimi Young
founder + plant spirit medicine practitioner

Follow us on Instagram and Facebook!

 

INTERVIEW WITH A SHAMAN

Mimi Young

shamanic plant medicine interview

As mentioned on Instagram, I've been a regular listener on Julie Parker's The Priestess Podcast for quite some time. She curates beautiful, relatable content on mysticism, alternative healing modalities, the Divine Feminine, conscious business, and so many other topics that I care deeply about. It was an IMMENSE honour to be interviewed by Julie on shamanism, plant spirit medicine, and my work here at Ceremonie. We had such a fun time chatting (including my interpretation of how Adam and Eve from the biblical story of Genesis is rooted in shamanic expression, my childhood, and even the unusual name for my favourite doll), that I completely lost track of time!

To listen to the podcast, please click HERE.

Big love,

Mimi Young
founder + plant spirit medicine practitioner

Follow us on Instagram and Facebook!

MORE READS FOR THE AWAKENED

Mimi Young

2Stocksy_txpc2e187d1whm100_Small_1146988.jpg

A blessed Solstice and approaching Yule! This year especially, I am experiencing resonance to Crone's calling for deep rest, play, and nourishment during this middle winter season. What better way than to spend time outdoors in the cold or cozied up with a pot of tea and a good book. These past few weeks, there hasn't been a day where I haven't received requests for my recommendation for a book on [insert mystic/wellness topic]. Though I am a believer that there is no greater truth than our own personal understanding gained through experience, there exists published bodies of work that can assist us as we walk down our life's winding path. Books (printed or audio) can function as confirming friends and compassionate teachers.

It's been over a year since I last published a post on my recommended readings. Again, the titles below are not in any way comprehensive nor complete. Note they may not necessarily be new/recent publications. They are simply a list of helpful, even challenging books that have stretched and nourished me in one way or another. I also have included, a brief (though likely limited) summary accompanying each title.

The Beauty Chef Cookbook by Carla Oates ...because healthful eating can be pleasurable and nourishing to all our senses. The most practical and most frequently used cookbook in my home for a while now.

Pussy: A Reclamation by Regena Thomashauer ...because we all need to radically self-celebrate.

Human Tuning: Sound Healing with Tuning Forks by John Beaulieu ...because everything is vibration.

Women Who Run With the Wolves: Myths and Stories of the Wild Woman Archetype by Clarissa Pinkola Estés ...because Jungian psychology, stories and images, and the power of the rewilding are pure medicine. Give yourself time to digest her words.

Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand ...because it's time to shift many of our restrictive paradigms towards money and embrace that money is good.

Material Girl, Mystical World: The Now Age Guide to a High-Vibe Life by Ruby Warrington ...because she is a distant sister from another mister and total IT girl of mysticism and spirituality. Bonus is that Ruby doesn't take herself too seriously. (While you're at it, give her a follow on Insta and tell her I sent ya!)

Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind by Yuvai Noah Harari ...because it's valuable to shift out of our individuality and see our species as a collective over time.

The Fourth Trimester by Kimberly Ann Johnson ...because the notion of a woman's body bouncing back overnight after birthing a baby is a harmful, bullshit ideal.

A Year with Rumi: Daily Readings by Jalaluddin Mevlana Rumi, Coleman Barks ...because a few, simply strung words can transport you to another world.

Crystals: The Modern Guide to Crystal Healing by Yulia Van Doren ...because we all have a skeptical friend who is now drawn to crystals. This is an excellent intro book, written by the modern queen of crystals.

Love Is In The Earth: The Crystal and Mineral Encyclopedia by Melody ...because some of us want to get deeper into with stones and glossing summaries aren't enough. My personal fave for a resource book.

I love Dick by Chris Kraus ...because through her feminist humour, she faces her own narcissism and experiences transformation with only imagination as the conduit.

Gene Keys by Richard Rudd ...because it's always helpful to gain insight on our life's path. This book requires a fair amount of study commitment to experience its full benefits and is not for the faint of heart.

The Beauty Myth by Naomi Wolf ...because ...just because.

Please check your local bookstore for these reads. We also recommend Abe Books in the US and Banyen Books in Canada.

 

A blessed and restorative Solstice and Yule season!

Big love,

Mimi Young
founder + plant spirit medicine practitioner

Follow us on Instagram and Facebook!