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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: shamanicpractitioner

HOW DID I BECOME A SHAMANIC PRACTITIONER? (EXPANDED)

Mimi Young

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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 the modern Christian world view 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, 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.

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


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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

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Image credit: Me, captured by Iulia Agnew

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

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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CELEBRATING MABON, FALL EQUINOX STORIES + RITUAL

Mimi Young

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It's been a while since I've been active on the blog, and how I have missed everyone! What better way than to resume than near Fall Equinox, a time of gratitude, reflection, and release.

 

There are many facets to the autumn story. Bounty and gratitude would likely be the most common, but the Demeter (Mother), Persephone (Maiden), Hecate (Crone) is one this autumnal ritual will be centred around. These three archetypes are aspects of the Great Goddess, and can be found in each of us.

The Guardians, a separate Druid-based story, involves three sacred trees that grow together, and act as protectors and preservers of our well-being (physical, psychic, energetic). In varying versions of the tale, the trees differ (including their interpretations), though the ones called upon today are Birch, Hawthorne, and Elder. These three guardians act as the sacred goddess trinity with Hawthorne as Mother, Birch as Maiden, and Elder as Crone.

The intention is to be mindful in recognizing the abundance this past year (from last Autumn), but also to be brutally honest with ourselves and name what we have lost (the connection to Demeter's loss) and give voice to that grief. Lastly, we give great honour to Crone, as wisdom and evolution always awaits regardless of the kind of experience we may have. In this way, we identify with the radically transformative potential of pain, and see the autumn and winter seasons as cycles that feed the greater wheel of life.

From your Ritual Tool Kit:

  • Hawthorne berries
  • Birch essential oil (Wintergreen will also do)
  • Elderflower cordial
  • Broken twig in a dish
  • Any one of these essential oils: rose, sage, peppercorn, cedar, fir, or basil
  • Carrier oil

*If three Guardian objects cannot be obtained, find any other object from three different trees.
 

Mabon Ritual:

  1. Light a candle and make space for your breath.

  2. Smudge yourself and altar (or sacred space). (As always, those with smoke sensitivities, our Sacred Smudge Mist is an effective alternative).

  3. Invite your spirit allies to join you.

  4. Say aloud your intention (what you wish to accomplish via this ritual).

  5. Place the dish with broken twig on altar. Without over-dwelling on your loss in this ritual, name the pain and visualize the broken twig representing it.

  6. Place the Hawthorne berries around the twig, followed by pouring some Elderflower cordial on the twig and berries, and ending with drops of Birch essential oil. Do this meditatively and with intention, acknowledging how one can gestate something very meaningful and precious, experience pain, and then surrendering control (a form of death), which in turn is what regenerates life.

  7. Visualize the type of regeneration that you seek, always giving room for your spirit allies to move you and support you. (Sway, dance, cry, sing, or whatever manifests!)

  8. The eight step, the step of completion and a closing of a perfect loop, involves belief that the regeneration/restoration will come. Winter may follow Autumn, but Spring always follows Winter. Anoint the top of your head with a dilution of the essential oil, speaking tenderly to yourself, "Spring follows Winter. I trust the creative Goddess within."

    End the ritual with a bow of gratitude to the spirits and send them away. Leave the dish on your altar for the remainder of the day and respectfully dispose the dish's contents in your compost bin / bury it in your garden the following day.

** An especially powerful day to perform this ritual is on Friday, September 22, this year's Fall Equinox.

 

Happy Equinox and stay free,
Mimi Young
founder + shamanic practitioner

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Image credits: @MoonandQuartz

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.

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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

 

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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." 


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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

WINTER RITUALS + CELEBRATIONS

Mimi Young

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Yule may be the most magickal time of the year. The divine Crone rules the Earth and invites the people of the land to honour and appreciate the darkness of Winter and wildness, and to hold space for mystery and the transformations that will soon emerge in the Spring. In Shamanic cultures, the medicine woman/man may wear antlers to invoke the forest deities or the respective animal totem, insuring a season of abundance and peace for the upcoming year. In modern times, we may no longer belong to a coven or have a Shaman near us, but we can clear debris, set intentions, and manifest our dreams through private practice knowing when we tend to ourselves, we are also raising the collective vibration. 

We may have forgotten how to live with the Earth's natural ebb and flow of seasons, but we can consciously choose to quiet ourselves this winter season, dim the lights (physically and metaphorically), and hibernate. We can choose to live simpler, to choose a holiday season that may look less materially, but be far richer in all other measurements. We can spend time letting our gardens rest, sweep the dust that deludes us, and dare to give permission to wear the sense of uncontainable beauty that lives in us all. Can we be brave enough to create an inner monastery so we can finally face and learn from our demons? This is the season of Yule. It is the season of darkness that is brighter than any light we are familiar with. The way there is Death; death of our egos, death to our agendas, death to our defaulted, desensitized selves. We enter this sacred place of Mid Winter, by claiming the wild women and wild men, light workers, witches and Shamans that is our natural birth right. 

As a way to support your practice, CEREMONIE is now offering 20% OFF our entire shamanic skin + aura care collection until 27, 2017.  Enter promo code WINTERSOLSTICE. 

"Gather we as old year ends
together here with knowing friends
as the New Year passes by
open up our magic eyes.

Ancient mother of Midwinter,
watcher over life and death,
the one who rebirths the world,
be with us on this longest night!
See us through the dark hours
and stand with us
as dawn births the promise of new life.
So mote it be!" -- Susan Peznecker


Stay free,
Mimi Young
founder + shamanic practitioner

Please note that orders placed after December 5 will be fulfilled the week of January 2, 2017. 

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