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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.

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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: shamanicjourneying

HOW DO WE HEAL INTERNALIZED COLONIALISM?

Mimi Young

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Colonialism isn’t just about destroying and taking over an existing local culture, exploiting the land and people, and maintaining domination.⁣

Colonialism is also about eradicating the people’s memories, exploiting and twisting those memories, and ensuring any effective connection to the past is severed so the conquered are left crippled and dependent on the dominating system. Let them forget who they were (past) so they do not know who they ever will be (present and future).⁣

This is most noticeable in the myth of the angry, jealous, and punishing, father god who cannot tolerate us having any form of connection to anything / anyone other than himself; he needed to invent an enemy - the devil - as a method to instill fear and preserve amnesia. What signifies the devil may differ, but common symbols are:⁣

  • Menstruation ⁣

  • All relating to the feminine and redness (further symbolizing menstrual blood, sexuality, creative kundalini energy, life force, celebration)⁣

  • An ‘emotional’, ‘wild’, ‘erotic’, or ‘uncontrollable’ woman⁣

  • Snake and Dragon - creatures of death-rebirth-death, beacons of luck and prosperity (because any success must be credited not from you or any other source of abundance other than the father god)⁣

  • Dancing⁣

  • Pleasure ⁣

  • Nature as subject rather than object (consider how wolves, hyenas, coyotes are villainized; consider how honouring the trees and the moon is taught as being associated with ‘demon worship’ or as ‘idolatry’)⁣

  • Diversity (patriarchy teaches that war is the solution to differences of opinion — it is a ‘shut them up’ rather than ‘talk it out’ method; and makes the assumption that diversity is ‘bad’)⁣

  • Revering your ancestors and maintaining that rooted connection to the very people who made it possible for you to be here ⁣

  • Any honouring of plant, animal, mineral, elemental spirits⁣


Examining devil symbols is a method of cultural shadow work that can help revive our collective / personal memory. For me, the access points have been menstrual honouring, plant spirit medicine, and ancestral connection.⁣ What are your ‘devil’ triggers? They are your portals to take you back to your soul remembrance.

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.

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.

A LITTLE ABOUT ME...

Mimi Young

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My name is Mimi Young, and I am the owner of Ceremonie and a spirit medicine practitioner. I smell things. People's auras, spirits, messages, warnings, omens, and things I am still not totally clear on. The term to describe this is called clairolfaction. (If you hang around with me long enough, you may find that I sometimes ask those in the room with me if they smell something in particular. I ask this because sometimes it’s unclear to me whether the scent I pick up is actually a physical aroma that belongs to the environment - say smelling coffee at a coffeeshop, or not, say smelling a distinct tree that is tied to specific spirit or ancestor that no one else in the room will perceive). My experiences in shamanic journeying didn’t start until I was well into adulthood while on bedrest while pregnant with my second child. (More on that HERE).

Being a Taiwanese-born Canadian, I grew up with a blended world view of East and West, Old and New, supernatural and natural. This is why my medicine work includes multiple modalities and spiritual practices, including core shamanism, plant spirit medicine, botanical healing, and Chinese divination. I have had an alinear life path that includes careers in graphic design and branding, handcrafted soft goods, literacy and numeracy education for children pre K through to high school, and most recently, as a neurofeedback practitioner to support personal optimization.

There is a common thread here, however. I have always been drawn to healing via learning and appreciating beauty. Whether I am designing wares, am leading a workshop, supplementing a child's education, or helping a client harness their neuroplasticity so they can unblock and access their full potential, the root of it all is through learning and embracing beauty that is all around us and in us. I am passionate about helping others see their own potential to accomplish what they desire. I feel very fortunate to be able to bring in many different languages and disciplines to make this possible.

Other things about me: apart from the work I do above, I am a mother of two beautiful beings who are my greatest teachers. I am also a lover of tea, cooking (and eating), electronic music, and old things with a story behind them. I live with my partner and boys in a historic fishing village called Steveston, about an hour outside of downtown Vancouver.

On a given day, you may find me writing curriculum for an upcoming course or leading an event, at a client's office blessing and cleansing their space, embarking on a shamanic journey on behalf of a client, fulfilling shamanic skin and aura care orders, offering neurofeedback sessions, but also a variety of less romanticized, but equally important activities -- driving my boys to their after school activities, bookkeeping and doing taxes, doing laundry and matching up socks, fiddling with something around the home that needs repairing, picking up essentials, hosting playdates for the boys and other kids in the neighbourhood, chatting with my partner about our weekly 'operations'. I check my smart phone calendar as well as my astrological calender. Call my human friends as well as call on my spirit allies. Clean the house with vinegar and baking soda, as well as frankincense and sage. I'm sharing all this because living a conscious / spiritual life (whatever you want to call it), is rooted in mundane while remaining in awe of it. Paying bills and mopping floors is as much valuable as peak experiences. One does not need to go anywhere to find beauty and love. The TWO most powerful ingredients in any spell or ritual is LOVE and GRATITUDE.

I am also active in my own growth and expansion. These past several months, I have found immense potency in dream analysis and shadow work, as well as my continual love for plant spirit medicine.

Thank you for reading and being here. I hope to serve you and continue to serve you.

Yours,

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.

Image credit: Iulia Agnew for Ceremonie

WHAT IS A HOME?

Mimi Young

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What is a HOME?

Well, I would say it’s not about the walls, the square footage, the furniture, the styling, the neighbourhood, the property value.

A home is about the warmth that is found there. Home is acceptance. And nourishment. And affection. And a place of allowing. Home is where you can create beautiful memories in solitude and with others. A place where you can let yourself completely fall apart because there are loving arms to catch you. Home is also where a celebration is held for you because you’re you. A home is a place where you can manifest the expansion of your heart by making space for others. HOME is heart.

What is a RIDE?

Well, I would say it’s not about the shine, the engine, the make, the look, the year, how it inflates delusions of grandeur. It’s not a vehicle (pun intended) for us to constantly demand our right of way.

It’s more of a portal that takes you from one place to another — some practical, some dreamy. Via this portal, you can be taken back to a melody from long ago and sing along, a portal where you can offer to run a much-needed errand for someone, or for a group of souls to get somewhere together. It’s also a reminder of what process is — the time spent in a ride is very rarely spent AT the destination, rather, it’s spent EN ROUTE to the destination. It’s a call to living mindfully and with appreciation. RIDES are portals.

What is a BAG?

No, it’s not a status or style symbol, or merely a utilitarian vessel to carry belongings where you go. (Even when we support conscious businesses, we can fall into the trap into believing that consciousness and spirituality have a certain aesthetic, or we use this false metric to assess others).

It’s an extension of what you consider important and how you carry these in your energy field. But how long have we carried bags that hold things we no longer need or find of value? Those wrappers, faded receipts, pens that don’t work, random business cards you have no intention of calling? Why do we carry and carry and carry and carry and carry what no longer serves us? BAGS are auras.

What are SHOES?

They are not defined by fashion trends or retailer of choice.

Rather, what did you do and what parts unknown did you venture in them? Did you practise the Golden Rule as you wore these shoes? How has putting yourself in others’ shoes brought reconciliation and unity? When was the last time you walked the extra mile? SHOES are choices.

Our Home, our Ride, our Bag, our Shoes can be unexamined expressions of the illusions this life seduces us with. Or they can be invitations to liberation, meaning, and magic. They can be a set of tools we powerfully wield with intention, with kindness, and with love. How are you using your heart, your portals, your aura, your choices?

Yours,

Mimi Young
founder, shamanic medicine teacher + ritualist


If you enjoyed this post, and would like more, please follow on
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Image credit: Iulia Agnew for Ceremonie

 

 

CANNABIS, HEALING, AND SPIRITUALITY

Mimi Young

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"Only plants have consciousness. Animals got it from them. " -- Dale Pendell

 

Canada and the USA is nearing its end of another prohibition era. The mass public in recent years, has shifted its perception of Cannabis (mainly known as Marijuana prior to 2010, but as the stigma around Cannabis vapourizes - pun fully intended - the name 'Marijuana' had to go through a bit of a rebranding with its more scientifically acceptable, Latin name, Cannabis, the heroic neo super-herb), partly because the West's established shamanic authority - the westernized medical doctor - has now deemed it worthy - when the old world's doctor - the original shamans, have all along considered Cannabis sativa, indica, and ruderalis, along with other plants, to be great teachers.

 

And this is where I would like to point out something: Ginseng, Astralagus, Gingko, Reishi, Lions Mane, and so many other healing plants and mushrooms have been exploited and marketed with exaggeration to heal virtually every illness of the human body. Are we any healthier today as we were when certain aspects of Traditional Chinese herbalism made its entry into the West? If we were to fast forward a decade, where will Cannabis leave us? (Hint - if the plant and her medicine story is appropriated and taken out of context, I am skeptical that resolution can take place).

I ask this because I don't think the role of plants have ever been to allow us humans to exploit them. I believe in relationship. The plants support us, and we support them: As we experience the benefits of what plants offer, we support their proliferation, and so forth. However, are the plants here to be objectified, in other words, to "serve" us one-dimensionally? And more specifically, only the active compounds are valued (since that is how the medical community measures validity), and as if the support of our physiology is the only thing that is noteworthy. In other words, are we sick today because illness resides exclusively in our physical minds and bodies? Or even if we are not sick, are the plants here merely to support functioning so we can work longer hours? (Think about caffeine and sugar's roles in keeping the human worker working). Why are plants that can numb pain, decrease anxiety, and give us energy the only forms of socially acceptable medicine? And why are most modern humans resistant to becoming truly intimate with the whole plant - and can value the plant beyond its individual active compounds, or even beyond the mere synergy of compounds?

It is with hopeful optimism, that the future (and the now) of plants are in the examination and integration of their consciousness into human healing. This is why before, when a stoner who claimed their minds are opened is now seen with more of an intellectual appreciation: via euphoria, people objectively see patterns (verbal, behaviour, symbols, etc) drifting into new ones, and increase their creative resilience for problem solving so they can engage in new processes of clarification. In other words, plants can now be valued for their prevention of neurological, emotional, and spiritual atrophy. Though it's paramount to mention the other side of the coin, there are the seekers who are always seeking - the ones who are seeking constant peak experiences that they are reluctant to walk down the proverbial mountain to return to baseline. Even in spiritual communities, there is a hunger that longs for more and more sensationalism. (This is why teachers in exotic places are always seen as "more spiritual" than the ones in your backyard or dramatic experiences are viewed as "more light-filled" than everyday cultivated habits of connection to oneself...) This is the danger of spiritual caffeine - of becoming lost in the powers of a plant's glory.

I ask these questions as I am in the process of writing an experiential curriculum titled, WOMEN, WEED, & WISDOM: Exploring Cannabis in Ritual and Shamanic Spirituality. Where is this 'right relationship' along the spectrum? How can we honour the plant and allow Cannabis to assist us in the areas of consciousness, wisdom, and integration? How does one create ritual and ceremony around consumption? What other wisdom-keeping plants work well with Cannabis, or possibly even can substitute her? And from a shamanic perspective, how do we communicate with and use Cannabis to undress, reveal, and divinate?

If you're in the Vancouver area on Wednesday, July 18 evening I would love to hang with you at outdoors - in ritual, in compassion and support, in plant wisdom. Click HERE for more info.

Big love,

Mimi Young
founder + plant spirit medicine practitioner / teacher

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UNDER THE NEW MOON: DECOLONIZING, GROWTH, MANIFESTING

Mimi Young

Sometimes, my own fears and irrational habits surprise myself. I have internalized oppression of general Chinese/Taiwanese culture (not to mention cultural purging that modern China has experienced) and Christian patriarchy; being a female in a white-centric worldview also adds nuanced complexity. So many painful and limiting layers. So much living small and self-oppression. But I'm hopeful. I think the first step is awareness, then release, and lots and lots of patience and self-love. I find using shamanic and ritual-based practices effective in identifying the limitations as well as work through them. (For those who know me and my work, I’m all about integrating the spiritual with practical, everyday life. Spirituality without real-life application is lip service).

I did a powerful New Moon ritual last month and invited spirits allies I have a relationship with, and my deceased grandfather (who had escaped China during a tumultuous and pivotal time and fled to Taiwan to seek political freedom) to surround me with support. It was as much of a spell to commit to personal growth as well as a surrender of me being comfortable enough to walk with my demons and call them my friends. You’d think my personal and professional work shamanically journeying would make me more open to Spirit, but this lesson of trust, trust, trust, is something I am still learning how to do.

I then wrote down some goals - all of which were completely impossible to achieve in my rational mind. They were (in my mind) lofty goals - some likely would take a year to achieve. I had deliberately put down ambitious goals because it was a challenge to live big - to show up in a way where I am not downplaying who I am, where I can embrace where I came from. What's incredible is that I just reviewed my goals these past couple of days (as I prepare for a New Moon ritual tomorrow), and all but 2 goals (there were 8) - have manifested - shifts in how I relate to work, to my relationships, to my health. I am overwhelmed with breathless awe and inexplicable gratitude. I am also pinching myself ever so often wondering why I waited so long to show up fully. What was I so afraid of? How can I call those demons ‘bad’, when the devil’s work in whispering lies is to invite us to explore our greatest truths? Releasing duality, layer by layer, is so liberating. As I let go of what I cling to, my hands are freed to invite new, prosperous, and loving realities in.

Happy New Moon, beloved tribe.
 

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!
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Image credits: Me, taken by Heather Pennell of The Essence Oracle

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

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MORE READS FOR THE AWAKENED

Mimi Young

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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

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Terra Incognita – Unknown Land

Mimi Young

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Instalment two by Alena Walker shares a topic both personal and universal: individual identity defined through spiritual and physical travel. Here, the wordstress weaves imagination and the manifested, spirit and flesh, myth and certainty, human and diety, and concludes that all are facets of expression of the Unknown rather than polarized concepts. Adam Harteau's indescribable images inspire. 
-- Mimi xo
Shamanic Practitioner + founder of CEREMONIE


“I was first greeted by a dark, canine figure with glowing eyes and a pitchy voice. He neither claimed nor denied being your guardian, but he later morphed into a figure we all know - the great Anubis. He had said that you have an ability, and will always receive assistance to delve into the unknown.” I didn’t fully understand what this meant when Mimi relayed it to me after my Shamanic Reading, not in the way that I do now, on the eve of setting out into the world with one-way tickets. It is one thing to grasp the notion of the Unknown with reasoning alone – but it is quite another to feel the pulse of it in my veins and it’s weight in my body while I carry it in my bones.

I’m writing this the day before I set out on a journey that will be take me to Brazil, Peru, Chile, Argentina and onwards to New Zealand, where in-between I’m free to roam with my partner, a backpack and a tent as my companions. I’m putting emphasis on necessity and less on convenience. I’m searching for questions and I’m happy to learn the answers, but I’m not seeking absolute truths, only experiences that will allow me to grow avidly with the air beneath my wings.

I find myself asking – why do I travel? I’m not the first person nor am I the last, but what I’m cultivating on the precipice of this transition are the reasons why so I can root myself in intention.

It’s time to embrace a readiness to walk away from ideas or habits and in lieu of the old, I have room to grow and pursue a better version of myself. I consciously choose to experience life on the road, to pare back my possessions and to abandon routine in favor of new ones.

As Mimi had written in a previous post, “death of our egos, death to our agendas, death to our defaulted, desensitized selves.” I enter this period to connect with what matters, to grow deeper into myself and to set about pursuits that bring me the purest joy. I’m setting out to switch off and switch on, to relearn, rewild and retune.

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My Shamanic Reading reiterated what I should always remember – “identify romanticism and let it go.” We have forgotten to value mess as much as we value beauty. We’ve become so accustomed to seeking perfection in our lives that we seek it on our social media feeds, our relationships, our friendships and we cast unforgiving gazes over our own reflections. There is no searching and no discovery, no messiness and no humanity. We’ve entered a time of mass vanity and romanticism on a wider scale, from the advertising that lines our peripherals to the feeds of content that we filter through digital devices. I’m craving a different kind of expression – an honesty that is frank and open, and that doesn’t block out trial and error nor sift out the banal and difficult in favour of the refined. Discomfort, hardship and imperfection are aspects that need to be honored without dressings or decorations.

It begins with the Unknown. Starting with a spiritual consideration of what I hold close materially and saying goodbye to that which doesn’t serve me. The products we use on our bodies, the food we consume, conversations we have and surroundings we place ourselves in are all subject to our choosing. This is our prerogative.

What each country demands of me, I’ll try my best to provide it – in the achingly uncomfortable, tiring, inspiring, and invigorating circumstances that lie outside the control of my scheduling. I can’t plan in advance, I can only prepare. There’s a great knowing to be yielded from surrendering to the energy of unfamiliarity.

As borders are threatened and boundaries drawn fiercely in the face of Trump and Brexit, there has never been a greater time to look eye-to-eye and talk in new languages, to give myself to the subtleties of voices I don’t understand so that I can taste the words of foreign tongues.

 

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It’s a time to touch the earth with hands and feet and take deep, slow breaths.
It's a time to feel the wind on my flesh and be enveloped in the warm grasp of a new climate.
Lose touch with vanity however fleeting, so I can live in the physical and feel as one separated from the demands of appearance.
It’s time to sit at the water’s edge and dip in the current. It's time to allow my mind to empty in the crystal clear, where my thoughts are free to wander. The earth speak and my soul will listen.

We are wild beings and we are one.
Be bold. Be kind.
Stay free.
Touch the earth.
Meet and speak.

It is our birthright to be free in this way.
It’s time to sow the seeds of my nature.

 “What is that feeling when you're driving away from people and they recede on the plain till you see their specks dispersing? - It's the too-huge world vaulting us, and it's good-bye. But we lean forward to the next crazy venture beneath the skies.” – Jack Kerouac

Terra Incognita is Latin for “unknown land” and while I was researching this phrase I came across the work of Adam Harteau who created a beautiful body of work comprising painting, drawing, collage, photography and mixed media inspired by his travels to Mexico, Central and South America. I think the discovery of Adam’s work - which is coincidentally inspired by the region that I’m setting out to explore– is a sign that is this exactly what I should be doing. Terra incognita, I come with opens arm.
 

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Words by Alena Walker, writer, fashion editor, and stylist born in rural Northern Ireland. A cultivator of local and international experiences, nature draws Alena close and allows her to tell stories through photography, paint, poetry, and prose. As a natural roamer and soulful artist, Alena describes her work as inviting consciousness and exceeding boundaries, "...where conscious consumption and environmental activism form the bedrock of my focus. I work only with ethical designers and I'm trying to make an impact on the world by creating consciously." 


For more information on plant spirit medicine, shamanic beauty and aura care, and all things shamanic, vibrational, and pagan, connect with us via Instagram or Facebook. Wishing all a vibrant, delightful, and flowing Lunar New Year, honouring the supreme New Moon.

 

 

 

 

 

THE WINTER ABYSS

Mimi Young

katebellm_yule2016

This achingly beautiful winter piece, custom written by our UK-based guest contributor, Alena Walker (her bio at the end), functions as dream, prayer, and love song to our glorious Mother Earth. Paired with photographer Kate Bellm's tropical compositions that drip our internal, humid longings, the images provide luminous portrayals of what humanity yearns on Mothernight, the eve of the darkest day of each year, Yule (or Winter Solstice). Together, may we reflect, give thanks, cast spells, shamanically journey, dance and sing to Gaia, our Mother, Grave, and Womb. 
-- Mimi xo
Shamanic Practitioner + founder of CEREMONIE


In winter, the thickest feeling of stillness surrounds us. In a single moment we are struck by the abyss that unfurls on the horizon. The whole world is holding its breath. Lessons don’t come only in moments of fertile beauty, in the tingle of sunshine’s sweet kiss or with the adrenal prick of hairs that engulf our flesh when we stand on a cliff edge, faces borne against the wind.

Change comes in moments of solitude, when you bury yourself in the bosom of Mother Earth, relentless in the pursuit of no clear direction. Your every step squelches in the muddy underfoot that glues you to forest floor and ice chaps your lips, freezing your breath and numbing your core.

We drift like ice sheets as we walk under the treetops’ thinning veil, which falls like a tapestry, mottled and merciless to the blowing gales. Leaves may tumble from great heights, but on the ground they become a rolling blanket worn on the shoulders of earth’s frosted floor. Let the sky cry! Let the world overflow in its tears and strip as bare as the branches while you swim in the current.

In these moments we gain clarity and connection; our identity changes at the influx. This is our opportunity for recollection and balance. Only with the darkness can we appreciate the light and only then can we appreciate its beauty.

The finite gives birth to infinite worlds in the bloom and break of growth and rebirth. We are spirits carried by the wind, picked up as soil and seed and carried across the plains in search of ourselves. It’s a change that happened because we chose to move towards it.

When left to its own majesty, Mother Earth offers everything that we need.

katebellm_wintersolstice

The darkness is cabin fever
And we get restless in the night
In this ever-stretching blackness
We swallow our sight

We brace the cold with brittle bones
We gather in the still
Release all that empties us
Sip what makes us full

We shed our skin like crumbled leaves
Spiked umbrellas to the sky
Winter is our secrecy
Seek with smoke-stung eyes

The trees are shaved to skeletons
Our bodies like cocoons
An endless offering of frequencies
Pared of all its bloom

Our breath bellows to the celestial
As we plead and redefine
We are great seeds buried in the brisk
With pockets full of moonshine

 

katebellm_shamanicritual


Words by Alena Walker, writer, fashion editor, and stylist born in rural Northern Ireland. A cultivator of local and international experiences, nature draws Alena close and allows her to tell stories through photography, paint, poetry, and prose. As a natural roamer and soulful artist, Alena describes her work as inviting consciousness and exceeding boundaries, "...where conscious consumption and environmental activism form the bedrock of my focus. I work only with ethical designers and I'm trying to make an impact on the world by creating consciously." 


We will be offering another story from our guest contributor next month! For more information on plant spirit medicine, shamanic beauty and aura care, and all things shamanic, vibrational, and witchy, connect with us via Instagram or Facebook. Wishing all a joyful Yule filled with ritual, love, insight, and joy.