This blog consists of several social media posts written in the days following Russia's invasion of Ukraine. By means of this blog I would like to continue to make my reflections available on-line.
#1 RUSSIA INVADES UKRAINE
It has happened: Russia has invaded Ukraine.
I try to keep most of my social media posts uplifting but this post won’t be.
I was teaching my Circle enrolled in the 2 year Seidr program in Sweden, last night. I took them through the concept of honour killings and revenge (as that was central in the Viking Era). I also spoke of cascades of violence and how violence sprawls and infects – unless it is understood and stopped.
There was a lot of violence in my childhood. In my shamanic practice I have often worked with people who suffered extreme violence and PTSD (such as military men who have been activity duty in Afghanistan or Syria). That work is harrowing and it will never leave me. People who have been brutalized and
marked in this way, need to learn to live with its impact as a lifelong companion. They need help in finding the sacred archetypal dimension of their experiences.
It is easy to say: Make Love, not War! But War is built into both the human psyche and the Cosmos. What is less well known is that here are many initiatory mysteries found in War. War is closely linked to religion and spirituality as well. (How many people like calling themselves Spiritual Warriors? How many religious wars has the world now seen?)
My penny’s worth (and the way I myself work) is that we cannot opt out of our relationship to War. We literally cannot “make Love, not War”, to lead a human life in its fullness, we need to engage with both. The question then becomes HOW. Other than finding the higher octave of the Warrior Blueprint, we need to learn how to make sacrifices, so people and land won’t need to be sacrificed. We need to do Shadow work and one of our shadows is the warrior-murderer, the part of us capable of killing. (I wrote about this subject at length in my third book: Medicine of the Imagination).
We have to stop making enemies of people. We are our own worst enemies. We have to retrieve all our aggressive projections and skillfully unravel them. We have to stop projecting our own shadow onto others – making them carry the burdens of our own unresolved.
Let me express in my own words what Ed Tick says in this book: Both the giving of life and the taking of life are sacred acts. Whenever we participate in these processes, we intrude on Powers Greater Than Ourselves and we must face the consequences. We must do deep soul-searching on the question what purpose our violence served. Did we act to protect, or did we act to destroy?
We also need to ask ourselves other extremely difficult questions. I tackled some of these questions in an article I wrote in 2016 about the Holy Office of the Temple Priestess (more commonly called Temple Prostitute, which is an outrage).
As another war starts before our very eyes, I invite you all to sit with these difficult matters.
(Date: 24 February 2022)
#2 THE UNFORGIVEN
This is the piece of music I was playing on the cello last night: The Unforgiven.
It is big question on my mind right now: what can we forgive and what is unforgiveable?
And then what happens to the Unforgiven?
Are we ourselves the Unforgiven?
And do we have an active practice of forgiving ourselves (or at least trying to) where such a course of action serves both healing and learning.
My favorite version of this (Metallica) song is by Apocalyptica:
And here is the (original) version by Metallica:
My son just reminded me that the war in Ukraine has gone for 100 hours now.
May you be a blessing in the life of others,
Date: 28 February 2022
#3 ABOUT ANXIETIES AND MIRACLES
My husband always brings me a cup of tea in bed, first thing in the morning. (I get to write my dream journal while he makes the tea).
This morning he asked whether I am as depressed and outraged as he is, by current events and the all-pervasive sense of menace.
My reply was that I am preoccupied and deeply concerned. And I am especially concerned about our own three children and the children of our world. But I also figure that if I am alive at this time, at this precious precarious time, then I have a contribution to make. I am here for a reason, just as we are all here for a reason. Perhaps the most difficult task is to stay grounded and work out what my/our best contribution is. Not to be swayed by anxieties and emotions but to stay focused and "on the job".
Over the years I have written books and a large volume of articles (for various publications). I have also spoken at many conferences and done countless interviews. Not to mention teaching all over the world. And I have "hammered home" certain topics: shadow work, ancestral healing work, eldering, safely held experiences of initiation for children (rites of passage work), young people being our greatest teachers, sacred art and living the sacred way etc.
I ask myself: have I shared my insights, my expertise (for whatever it is worth), the things I have learned from years of doing intense shamanic healing work with people from all over the world (every possible ethnic or cultural background)? I think I have, in the best way I know how. Until today I teach specialist modules sharing specialist skills. (I have a completely free workshop coming up soon).
So I said to my husband: I do feel deeply sorry for young people. Several generations were already marked by a pandemic and just as things eased up, they are facing huge existential anxiety.
But the fact is that the 20th century saw two world wars - from which we didn't learn and for which we didn't commit to doing the amount of healing work required by the gravity of the situation. This fact haunts me and always has: whatever isn't balanced or healed, will return to seek healing. It lives on in both our psyche and ancestral fields and even in our bodies. The issues will find new expressions - a desperate invitation for us to engage and get it right.
I would like to live until I am 94 but it is not my human right to have even one more day on this beautiful planet, I am not entitled to more time here. My existence is cradled in the hands of living gods. So if I die, it means that I leave the stage and make space for others. It is an incredible privilege that I am here, fully alive, today!
Nor is it for me to keep my children (now three young men) safe at all cost, no matter what. They are here for a reason and need to be given the space to do what they came to do. The anxieties of my mother's heart cannot stand between them and their destiny. Not just that: I have had the privilege of working with MANY children and young people over the years. They have blown me away and moved me to tears so many times.
So I do not believe in false reassurances or that terrible things will never happen to me (why me? - why NOT me?!) but I do believe in young people. I also believe that healing is perfectly possible, because I have seen more than my fair share of miracles over the last 10 - 15 years.
(Date 1 March 2022)
#4 ABOUT LOVE & LIGHT & WAR & LANGUAGES
I have never been a "Love & Light" type of person. Most of my spiritual work is done in darkness: shadow work, ancestral healing work, psycho pomp work etc. For that reason I do not feel able to write love and light posts but have made the commitment to jotting down some personal reflections every day.
One of my strangest habits (compulsions) is learning foreign languages. I adore it, it is one of my passions! (As some of you know I am currently learning Finnish).
This week I felt it was worth learning Russian, about 30 years ago, just so I could follow Zelenskiy's passionate speech in Russian, about the "real" Ukraine (not the images we create in our mind) and its deep desire for Peace.
I have always had a great love for Russian culture and people. (Not talking political leaders here, just ordinary people).
I also loved studying Mandarin Chinese, about 12 year ago. I have a great love for China and Chinese culture (political leaders not included). I have fond memories of visiting a kite shop in Beijing (to buy animal kites for our children) and talking to the shop owner (and old lady) in Mandarin, about our three boys!
I said to my husband this morning: I may need to learn one more world language: Arabic. Just so I can hear what ordinary peace-loving people, like you and me, are actually saying in these times of Danger and Dire Beauty...
There is still quite a lot of Finnish (vocab and grammar) left to stuff in my head. But it is good to have passions and dreams and goals for self-improvement...
Let me finish today's post with little "Finnish knowledge lecture" :
"The verb rakastaa, “to love”, much like puhua, “to speak”, always takes a partitive object. Love is all encompassing but since you can never know someone completely, you can never love someone completely. Every time you learn something new about someone you love, you love them more and better. Healthy love focuses on the complexity of the person who’s loved, not on the obsessive and absolute emotions of the person who loves. True love is loving the truth". (Source: Duolingo - Finnish)
Let's commit to always learning more about individual people, groups and cultures, so we can always love them MORE AND BETTER!
(2 March 2022)