Reflections on Going Deep, Sojourn at the Underworld
What would life be like if we were to thrive, rather than just survive? That is the question Sydney Francis and I have been asking ourselves. Many of us have moments of bliss, but what if you really were to follow your bliss as a way of being in life? Could Joseph Campbell be right?
Follow your bliss.
If you do follow your bliss,
you put yourself on a kind of track
that has been there all the while waiting for you,
and the life you ought to be living
is the one you are living.
When you can see that,
you begin to meet people
who are in the field of your bliss,
and they open the doors to you.
I say, follow your bliss and don’t be afraid,
and doors will open
where you didn’t know they were going to be.
If you follow your bliss,
doors will open for you that wouldn’t have opened for anyone else.
On November 3rd, Sydney and I led a ritual celebration that used the timing of the cross-quarter holiday, Samhain, combined with the Scorpio New Moon Solar Eclipse to release what we no longer need and to bring in what we want into our lives. On top of that, Saturn is beginning a new 29-year cycle, so we connected to that energy as well.
In Sydney’s reflection she wrote,
For the sake of our ritual, I see several energies coming together: the cross-quarter day of Samhain (mid-point of Scorpio, and a shifting point within the season of Fall), a new moon in Scorpio, sun in Scorpio, an eclipse—the sun crossing the ecliptic, a gathering of intention by Holly and myself and the participants, the literal and symbolic aspects of the labyrinth, our collective 1st chakra energies/our bodies forming a tribe, and the fire. In essence the energies are time, space, the people and the healing intention creating an extra-energy that is larger or outside of our common experience. This larger energy, extra-ordinary time-space, gave us an opportunity to gather something outside of our normal experience or larger than our normal experience, such that we could experience a paradigm shift. In addition, with the timing (in Scorpio) and our intent (3 goals about the 1st chakra), as well as the physical labyrinth tool, we were really seeking and creating a paradigm shift in the body (the somatic experience), as well as within in the emotions, mind, body and spirit. To me this is the essence of a transformative experience, or rather the moment of initiation of a transformative process.
The timing and the ritual were key. Building up to the ceremony, I found myself have many first-chakra “survival” experiences. For example, I broke my pinky. That turned into a seeming avalanche of events. I am a part-time temp at the university (part-time temp status is the university’s way of employing people full-time for about half a year without giving them benefits), so I have no health insurance. I first went to two clinics in town who wouldn’t see me unless I forked over two-hundred bucks up front (before x-rays). I didn’t have the cash. Finally, I went to the emergency room, knowing that I wouldn’t be turned away for not having the money. The week before breaking my pinky I applied for ACCHS (like Medicaid in the state of Arizona). The day after going to the hospital, I sat in the Department of Economic Security for three hours only to be told that I can’t get ACCHS because I am not pregnant nor do I have children – but – if I got a letter from my employer explaining my part-time temp status I might be eligible for food stamps. I caught a cold. I was feeling stressed. This is a fraction of what was going on – if I went into detail it would be an entire post . . .
As Halloween approached, and our ritual, the energy started swirling like it was Christmas. I wanted to have a good time for Halloween, and I had much needed fun getting dressed up as a Nature Nymph and going to see the Meat Puppets. (They were so good!!!) We danced and laughed and celebrated for hours! It was refreshing. However, turns out dancing on a concrete floor that is at an angle isn’t the best thing for my knees. Next day – my knees hurt!! More first chakra stuff.
No time for aches and pains! It was time to focus on the Sojourn to the Underworld. We were really going for a deep in-the-moment somatic experience, feeling our physicality in the moment, going to the center of the labyrinth, and making space for soul work. We wanted to release contradictory messages about owning our power, connecting with our tribe, setting intentions and releasing the outcome. Working with Scorpionic energy and labyrinth, I expected our ritual to be somber, but instead, it was incredibly joyful! We decided to add a chant that would build the energy of the first chakra “right to be” alive on this planet – and that made all the difference! We were singing and dancing, and when I was walking through the labyrinth, my heart felt so open and yet I felt connected with my feet. I was laughing on my way deep in, and singing on my way out.
Then I let go and let go and let go. And placed so many intentions, too. And I am trusting that my intentions will come to fruition. And I trust that this work I am embarking on with Sydney is going to unfold beautifully (it has already begun).
I could barely focus for the rest of the week. I was tired –not getting enough sleep, working, but bored out of my mind. Much integration going on. Finally, on Friday, I got to connect with Sydney and it felt like the most sane thing I could have done all week. We are beginning to see that the project we are embarking on is bigger than we thought. Sydney and I both realize that though we are educated, we don’t “fit in” (and frankly, never have), and that the work we are doing is finding a way to carve out a place for ourselves, and for anyone who is feeling disempowered by the current paradigm of our civilization.
Some of our big questions are, “Where do we find our power in this society without losing our humanity, creativity, sexual energy, time for love, personal relationships and nature? How do we heal trauma so that we may experience our lives fully in the moment? How do we survive financially without trading over or losing our power?”
Now I am feeling happy and energized to get back to work on our writing. I spent the weekend in the wilderness with my partner where we enjoyed one another and the world around us. I felt safe and relaxed, and finally caught up on sleep! And I breathed fresh air, and sat by a fire, and spent prolonged periods in the moment – marveling at the beauty of the stars, at the sound of water and birds and grasshoppers, and at the love and appreciation of another human being.