Amnesia is Embarrassing

A great key of being oneself is;

remembering.
We have endured a great forgetting.
Forgetting ourselves as children,
forgetting ourselves as one with nature,
forgetting why we are here.

As an Irish woman there are more depths to forgetting.

Forgetting the names of the plants, the meanings of the mounds, the hill forts, the fairy forts, the rings and crannógs.
Forgetting who built them and why.
Forgetting the rituals of the folk, of the people who are the land animate.
Forgetting our dances, our stories, our neighbours, our elders, how we tend our family of animals, domestic and wild, how we grow to eat and heal, not for exhaustive yields but for responsively receiving enough.
The forgetting of the songs.
Forgetting to even sing!

Most wounding of all is the forgetting of the language.

The adoption of the tongue foreign to our mouth that twists around ‘likes’ and ‘fecks’ trying to revive the breathy guttural ‘achs’ and ‘aiths’ missing from this new language.
We forget that it is our voices that sung this land into existence from seemingly empty space. That our distinct accents, now dying, are the sonic resonances that echo back the topography of the hills of Munster to the crags of Ulster, the barren bogs of Connacht to the depth and drama of the quiet midlands. Even in Dublin, our cosmopolitan hub, our accents are to scale with the buildings, increasing in nasality as the rise highers in the periphery towns, with the center holding on to a low dockyard growl.

We’re still singing, even if we can’t seem to hear the music.

I wonder often on Irish, ar an Gaeilge. I wonder on it as, unlike many, I am competent at speaking in Irish. I was educated up until 3rd year of secondary school through the medium of Irish. I am fortunate in this. I remember much of the language. A benefit of being an empath is that one acquires languages quickly through the intense desire to understand and be understood. I felt an excitement at playing with it and enjoyed writing poetry in the almost secret seeming constellation of consonants.
I loved the language, and loathed learning it. The immersion of primary school was soon replaced by the grammatical precision of secondary and suddenly my magic words were turned to mathematical formulas. I began to feel I could not comprehend the words I had jabbered merrily in country pubs sat alongside my Anglophone parents. That along with the disembodiment experience of being adolescent began to quash my passion. I felt combative with my teachers for ruining the fun and making it appear as something so dry, so Catholic and dogmatic.

Hadn’t it predated Catholicism? Why was it so disconnected from nature when we learned it? So much of the syntax had to do with the Catholic idea of God, so many of the words related back to it’s tenets. Most interestingly when we, a gaggle of school girls, explored the word for masturbation in Irish, we were confronted with féin-thruailliú, ‘self-pollution’. As I matured into the skewed capitalist equivalent of maidenhood, I was being confronted even through Irish with the binary dogma of a language against nature. Science teachers struggled to force the language on top of Latin and Greek scientific terms that had been Anglicised and now were Hibernised awkwardly, similar enough to not be necessary translations, different enough to confuse an already confused adolescent. The forcing of a standardised Gaeilge by teachers from Munster and Connacht teaching in Dublin and insisting on assumed rural accents, the implicit humiliation that we were not truly of Eiriú.

It was a battle for meaning. For an ideology of rural modernity, for relevancy and Godliness. Learning secondary school Irish in Dublin was a total paradox.

Once again we had fallen prey to that most post-colonial of roadblocks:
We had no idea what it was that we wanted Irish to be.
Was it a political reclamation? Was it a religious duty? Was it an intellectual necessity? Was it a bridge between modernity and heritage? Was it an industrial ally?
We had so little idea that we therefore could not allow it to just be.
It had to be fixed, fussed over, made relevant, made holy, made desirable, made lucrative.

To me the story of our language is the parable of our land.

The shame with which the unknowing of our tongue, taken from our mouths young and twisted, reflects the shame of the unknowing of what Ireland strives to become, or is there even a becoming? What are we singing into existence?

What is the meaning of our words?

What do we call into being?

We’ve forgotten what it is that we wanted, and we have forgotten who it is we are.

We are no longer Catholic in anything other than contract, no longer the noble poor of Europe, no longer the dissenting colony, no longer the underdog of industry. We’ve explored these roles for the Irish and somehow they leave us wanting.

Who does the language belong to? Who does the land belong to? Who do we belong to?

Why is it that we are experiencing this incarnation of Ireland, and is what we wanted to create for ourselves? For our children?
We adopt not only awkward tongues, but awkward ideas, even the idea of parliament is not our own. Dáil Eireann is another contrivance of the oppressors in place of real sovereignty. When we claimed independence we just reassembled an Irish version of the same hierarchy.

We look to other nations for everything Education, Healthcare, Economic Policy, if it works for Finland, Germany, The Netherlands, certainly it must work domestically?
Yet we are different from our European flaneurs, different from the North American settlers. Yet this is the difference that we hide shamefully.

Someone recently asked me about the thoughts of ‘native’ indigenous peoples and their attitudes towards medicine. I asked him ‘you’re indigenous, you are native, what do you think of them?’
We do not see ourselves of this land.
If we were, we would have to admit to our not knowing.
Our farmers would have to admit that they have forgotten how to tend the earth from all the grants that steered them from small holdings to industrial animal husbandry.
Our politicians would have to admit that they can’t really remember what sovereignty means.
Our people would have to admit that they feel more connected to America than the Aran islands.

In writing this I consider anyone who considers themselves to be of a place, of that place. No matter their accent, skin pigment, passport or ‘status’.
While writing this I am certainly not talking about an ethnic purity, nor I am a talking about identity based political reform.

I’m talking about creating the intimacy and trust with this place to begin remembering.
I’m talking about realising ourselves, no matter from where we come, as being here, on this patch of earth (where ever you may be) with these beings around us, in the embrace of their bounties and limitations.
I’m talking about the intimacy of the wounds of languages, memories and meanings lost, not just here in Ireland, but everywhere, in every part of the world, in every person who finds their family in a new place, whether it is 6 miles from where they were raised or 600 miles away.
I’m talking about being grassroots in a way that remembers what we can and accepts our strengths while healing the wounds of our ancestors, human and non human, that are carried within us and scarred on the earth, smoke in the air and trash the oceans.
I’m not talking about going out and learning everything you can about this country, it’s history people and language, although sure if you want to.
I’m not shaming those of us who can’t speak our maternal tongue, or expecting us to drop what we’re doing and get into trad.
I’m talking about being here long enough to be yourself. Being present enough to feel the wind, to smile at the woman next to you, to listen to the lilt of the accents, the tinkle of the foxglove and the things that make this moment special.
I’m talking about being able to look beyond the crisis and the convulsions of the modern world and appreciate what has been lost of our rememberings by loving what is surviving.
The courage in having the patience, love and forgiveness to ask ‘why is it like this?’, rather than just dismiss here and now as inadequate.

Rather than wishing for something to be other than it is, wanting Ireland to be xyz, your ancestry to be xyz, irish to be xyz, to suit new ideals,

ask yourself; ‘how can I accept this as it is now?’
I’m talking about loving where you are and what you have.
And what I am talking about applies to almost everyone, everywhere.

Amnesia is embarrassing.
Europe has lost hundreds of languages in the past 500 years. Europe has also lost most of her forests, and Ireland nearly all, in this period. The influx of people into the cities is endless and the agricultural landscape extends to feed us.
People have lost their sense of belonging to their land for a factory and lately a laptop. To their ancestors for a presidency and now celebrity.
Many people have lost their sense of belonging to the earth, the elements and one another. They have pushed it away for the desire to win, to succeed, to be efficient. This rejection of what is for something better is what has created our forgetting.
We rarely think to ourselves ‘if it is so important to be efficient then how come no one can agree on where we are going?’

This disembodiment, disassociation and separation trauma that we all share to some degree or another is remedied first and foremost by grounding.

And with grounding comes remembering.

And when the earth of the being is grounded enough to give the psyche remembering, we give our spirits embodiment.

Until we truly ground into the reality in which we are living, with presence and commitment, centered and solid, then we continue to recreate situations of suffering, by being reactionary and acting from urgency.
There is humility in not knowing what to do. In that there is also learning.
To conclude (because I could write a spiderweb around this);
Amnesia is embarrassing and remembering is humbling.
And I recall it has been said that
humble are the best beginnings.

Beannachtaí Bealtaine; Love Driven through the Fires of Impeccability

CelticZodiacSignBullCow

On May 4th there was a New Moon in The Sign of the Solar Bull. This is the portal to the Summer/Winter axis. The full moon will be in Taurus around the time of Samhain, (or Halloween), later in the year, when the sun is in the constellation Scorpio and the portal between the worlds of the waking and those who are dreaming in the ethers are thin (all though who is to say who is the dreamer?)

On this New Moon of Beltaine we set an intention of material manifestation under the sign of the bull. Bulls have always represented value, the material, strength, solidity, virility and virtue. In astrology Taurus represents commitment, the body, the sensual and tactile, the earth and the organic, gold and the financial. At Bealtaine we get our values in order. We beat the bounds, walk the perimeter of our lands, setting our limitations, thanking our guardians, surveying our sustenance with gratitude for both it’s reach and it’s accessibility. We stretch toward the light, aware of the potential to be scorched. We drive the cattle between the fires, to clear them of damp and lice.

In brief; we reassess what matters to us, check it for nicks and grazes and if there is a love for it we call it in closer. What we call in for value at this moon will be intimate by November 12th full moon. If you want to really get to know the worth of something, be it a relationship, a practice, a goal, a project, bring a focus on it in to your life consciously now. Now is the time to set the foundations for the structures that will nourish us through the darker months. These are the months in which we grow from seed what it is we will eat come harvest season.

My own experiences of this energy has been that of the oncoming healing processes that are to actualise within me and the world I am dancing through.
Themes I perceive for the next six months are;

The Pain of Reconciliation.
The Desire/Performativity dynamic
The Imposter/Manipulation line
The Predator/Prey magnetic
The Karma of Dominance; War, Escalation and Collapse

The dialogue of Bealtaine is the marriage of the masculine and feminine, their forging through the firey passion of Aries into the comfort and domesticity of Taurus. This is the intimacy creating season before the reality of Winter next November. Notice these themes are dynamic, they involve two actors, they are beyond the singular healing experience. The core wounds of abandonment, grief, rejection etc may be beneath them but this year the load of self healing separates actively into to the poles of energy. This is no longer a solo process. Now we heal in conjunction and opposition with another. Now it is time to dance!

Although I will not discuss all of these topics here, if you feel drawn to reflecting on them within yourself and wish to share with me your observations on these dynamics, please, you are so welcome to get in touch!

For now, notice that the overarching all of these themes is the desire to possess.
Possess how others perceive us. Possess objects, spaces, land, money, lovers, friends, family, experiences, roles, rights, recognition. To possess in it’s benign form is to embody, in its malefic form to possess is to dominate.

How often have we entered a life or soul contract with the desire to immerse and encompass?
How often have we then found ourselves anxiously controlling and protecting?
How often when we are then threatened do we move from protecting to projecting, from anxiety to anger?
This is the residue of the trauma of war that resides in the DNA of us all. The relentless and senseless need to possess more than one needs of the narrative, of the space, of the situation, to dominate because we’ve forgotten how to tolerate difference without fearing forever for some safety.
The threat of punishment and retribution is what is requiring the dominant to escalate so they can control and do not have to face the shame and suffering their fear has inflicted. To keep this kind of metal, as Macbeth (and a recent client put it) ‘To be stepped so far in blood it would be as tedious going back as it were going over’.
Once the dominant/submissive roles are embodied through cruelty that becomes a hard role to break.

This I sense will be surfacing through our closest insecurities, that which we’d rather hide, the ways in which we steer the conversation away from painful and uncharted subjects, into safer territories, ones where there is less of oneself to look at. Or the ways in which we insist we are right and that we know more or better or what the other person is really thinking.

I know this to be a great cathartic time for collective healing. Especially between the masculine and the feminine, both within ourselves and in our relationships. The fears which can be transmuted to deeper trust these months remind me of the creation of gemstones.

Playing your Avatar

We are at the threshold of a dawn from a dream in decline. Many of the mechanisms of our world serve to undermine our personal dreamings with the pressure of collective suffering and the impermanence of time eg;
‘How can I justify my dream of becoming a circus performer when there is global warming?’
In recent conversation with my teacher Demian around my own values and priorities I was reminded that my priorities are my dreams and desires, as I have committed to my life of service wherein those who I encounter can thrive through my embodiment of those dreams and desire.
Still though to embody our dreaming self we must allow ourselves to be possessed by them, we must dance our dream, we must perform our desires.
Otherwise, it is often observed, our unconscious desires perform us.
Suppressed dreams hijack. Underground desires sabotage.

Yet how do we become our dreams if we are not yet those dreams?
We perform them. We script a play within a play.
Through this do we become actors or self-actualizers? Imposters or personifiers? Manipulators or magicians?
Where are the bounds that we beat in becoming ourselves?
And at what point is this possession theft?
When can it be said that an identity, a role, ought to be earned?
Or need we even worry about this?
There is too much nuance in each experience to discuss this broadly, for again we speak of souls, not egos.

I speak often about ‘playing your avatar’.
By this I mean embody.
Embody your blend. Your origin, your history, your curiosities, your pain and emancipation, your sexuality, your physical presence. Embody and inhabit your environment. If you are Irish do not disassociate from that, if you have ailments do not disassociate from that, if you are dyslexic, if you are sensuous, if your voice is loud, if you have dark skin, if you have a strange history, if you’ve been violent and cruel, if you’ve been mistreated, if you have family you do not know, if you have disordered eating, if you have stolen or lied or whatever, do not disassociate from it . Do not disassociate from your ‘self’ or your ‘context’.

We do not need to expose ourselves to the world, but we are certainly better off exposing our ‘self’ in reflection with self with as much honesty, commitment, acceptance and love as we can muster.
That is embodiment, and that is the expression of our desires, as the truest desire of the soul is to be embodied.

For now the spirit sends me to Central America, to the Mayan regions of the Yucatan and Chiapas, to my teacher Demian on Lago Atitlan and to Oaxaca and Baja California to work and share medicines and teachings. I return to Ireland in July. I am so excited to share in the universality of consciousness through different lenses and traditions. I am so grateful to embody my desires and to offer my footsteps to that curvature of the Earth.

I continue to be available on Whatsapp, feel free to connect. If you are curious to explore the other healing themes I mentioned I am available for distance work.

Beannachtai,

Katie

Lá Féile Síle / Honouring the Creatrix

sile

 

Today in Ireland, a little known festival is occurring. Today we honour the role of the Creatrix, depicted by Síle na Gig. Shakti (or the divine feminine) in the Irish sense.

I offer you a thousand blessings of the Wise and Wild Women of this Island.

I Encourage You to Honour your Wildness and Wisdom,
Celebrate and Create!
Le Grá na Mná Feasa agus Fian

Céad míle beannachtaí daoibh!

The Trickster

coyote

 

The archetype of the Trickster is one of the strongest initiatory teaching medicines a person can encounter.
In my practice there are no innately negative emotional processes. There are teaching emotions.

There are no innately negative experiences. Only teaching experiences.

The trickster in North American culture is often represented by a Coyote, who is also one of the creation gods. The Great Coyote is one of the strictest teaching energies. One who sets traps that compel us toward ego, indulgence and self-limiting beliefs. To inauthentic compromise. The Great Coyote dances through the people and opportunities we meet. Offering us things that compel in us desires to be someone other than who we essentially happen to be. Ego traps, opportunities to look good, get rich, be admired, be accepted, be desired, be powerful, get revenge, ‘reclaim’* something etc that negate Our Integrity, Our Personal Truth and Our Destiny.

(*The terminology of ‘reclaiming’ is, in itself, an ego trap)

Examples of this are promotions in jobs we don’t like, relationships and friendships of convenience (such as befriending people as a means to an end rather viewing the relationship as a valued entity in itself), accepting praise that is not yours to accept, opportunism in doing things that bear social approval but are not your passion. The list is endless.

We learn a lot from Great Coyote about power and trust, about authentic pride, integrity and dignity, about the nature of seeking and encountering.

My own journey has largely been initiated by the teachings of the Trickster. In spaces where not all was what it appeared to be, where there were trapdoors into situations that I hadn’t completely envisioned myself in, attributions to things I don’t totally agree with, where my power was placed in another rather than myself, out of fear of abandonment, out of pride, out of the desire to be accepted and liked, out of the desire to be admired, for many reasons I have danced with Great Coyote and fallen on my ass.

I am sharing these lessons here so I can illuminate a few trapdoors and missteps that you may not want to stumble over or trip on.

For example there’s a video of me online promoting an organisation that is selling indigenous medicines from the Amazon jungle, who soon, it has been suggested, will be selling them from elsewhere.
I followed my intuition to this group and I participated in my first medicine retreat* (*note, not ‘ceremony’). I was so grateful for the access to the teachings of these medicines in Europe, but the group made little impression on me. The retreat contributed to my journey and there were many teachings in space that I still reflect on.

About two years later found out this group would be hosting ceremonies closer to home. A friend had begun participating and again, I followed my intuition to their retreat.
I received from the medicine the guidance I was there to receive and I felt the genuine care of the facilitators. The integrations were powerful and the participants demonstrated bravery and great acceptance.

I also had an awareness of the organisation as being one intent on expanding. I didn’t know whether or not I wanted to participate in this. I didn’t know if that was where my soul was calling me. During an integration the leader of the organisation spoke often and intensely about issues with under-staffing, surrounded by his openly exhausted team, with whom many of the participants had connected.
He very openly promoted a school they had for facilitators and denied the claims projected at the organisation that they were a ‘cult’.

Personally I felt that the leader was very adept at what he was doing in provoking in people a desire to change the world with Amazonian medicines. I also felt that the decision to intensely promote things to people in a catharsis process was definitively morally ambiguous to my moral standard.

In all honesty I felt above this trick. I felt I was of a superior intellect and guile and I would not franchise my own gifts out to the service of what I perceived to be a morally ambiguous organisation. The school cycles were expensive and long, the personal risk involved seemed high on an emotional, social, and legal level to the student and the workload seemed immense. There was time pressure and the facilitators were paid commission on the amount of medicines they sold, thus incentivising some to ‘push’ (not all did this, at least not to me) and keeping them in what I perceive as a state of dependency on the work due to the insecurity of income and the high investment of the intense school cycle and personal risk to pay for.

So I stayed ‘above’ it. Too smart for this trickster. During the retreat I befriended the videographer. He is a cool guy, very kind and fun to speak with. He was filming the retreat for a promotional video. I hung out with him, he told me he enjoyed what I shared in integration and asked if I’d like to be interviewed. I was flattered and in that space I felt there was an importance in sharing openly. Others had approached me too and complimented me on ‘my’ insights. I like to speak publicly, and I felt this being admired and appreciated by a group of people when it so very much came from the heart was great; so I consented.

And, like that, through self-inflation of my own ego, my own desire to impress and be impressive, had me promoting through my own image an organsiation that I do not agree with the morality of.

Yet I was ‘above’ working for this organisation.
Well, right now, I am still working for them.
I am working for them every single time someone clicks on that video.
For free.

Recently, again through a friend, I attended a very poorly held space. Again this space was part of the now trendy plant medicine ‘ceremonies’ culture. I do not need to go into the intricacies of this space but I can say that the level of facilitators to the work they are trying to do is not congruent and to me is honestly dangerous.

At the end of this retreat I was coerced by childlike group think into a photograph that I was not comfortable being in. I had no desire to use my image to promote the work of this group. Yet again, there I am. In an image that this group is using on social media to encourage people to their ‘work’.

In both instances I went against my own intuition and integrity. Each instance was a very different reason and these reason to me are at the core of my entrapment fears.
The first was entrapment through hubris, through pride, through an idea of myself as some sort of herald, who would be seen by the masses to be somehow wise, to have my image seen as beautiful. And maybe that is how that video is seen, and maybe I just look unhinged and a bit crazy in a llama jumper. Hey, we all see through our own eyes. One thought that to me is true is I am not being seen by many people on my terms. I am being seen as part of an organisation I don’t agree with.

Likewise in second example, I lost my self image through peer pressure, rush and intensity of expectation. I succumbed to something just to get it out of the way and let those who were grasping for a group photo have it so I could leave and get out of there.
I sacrificed myself to a group for whom I did not care. I gave myself in that moment to something I did not believe in.

Amongst the ways to be experience the wound self-loss, being seen to be someone you are not over and over again by many people you will never meet is a powerfully humbling one.

This is the ultimate challenge of what I shall call ‘The Inconvenience of Absolute Self Trust’. Self Trust and Self Ownership quite simply are about being comfortable with disappointing others and being overlooked. To Know Thyself means to Chose Thyself, even if you have to deflect the praise you did not earn and no one likes you from time to time.

Therefore my medicine from the trickster, from Great Coyote, was the lesson of humility and the strength to own my ‘self’ with integrity in the face of expectation and flattery.

Sine these lessons I have learned the importance of anchoring myself in the practice impeccability, humility, sovereignty and self-responsibility. Then when the temptation arises to be someone I am not here to be, I have a reference point for Truth to check against the many Trickster energies life faces us with.

If the Truth is inconvenient, the to me that is a test of integrity.
If my capacity to Trust myself is being challenged then to me that is a test of sovereignty.
Since the lessons of the Trickster, the teachings of Great Coyote, I am facing these test more and more consciously.

I, as always, pray that in sharing my insights that you who reads this will follow your truth and your intuition with loyalty and gain greater confidence in your Self Trust, Personal Truth and Destiny.

No matter what the inconvenience may be.

Le meas,

Katie

thetrickster

Earth Medicine Workshop Cork Tuesday 11th September 6pm

Earth Medicine (1)Hello Friends!

So begins the colours and fickle winds of Autumn!
Now is a time for harvesting a strong year.

Over the summer I had the amazing opportunity to train with St. Ethelburga’s Centre for Peace and Reconciliation. The training was focused on the re-emergent concept of Spiritual Ecology.

Spiritual Ecology is a response to the environmental situation that is based in creating relationship with nature. It works with the principle that we only defend and care for that which we love, so reconnecting to our love of nature and the natural rhythms of life are essential in preserving human life and the lives of our animal, fish, mineral and plant friends.

Following this I will be hosting monthly workshops to help people develop their own shamanic approaches to this relationship, by offering advice, tips and techniques for various practices. These will include plant communication, sensory awareness, reciprocity and consideration in natural spaces, making plant essences for yourself or friends, earth care and people care healing methods, as well as getting into your Green Woman or Green Man, finding your wild and bringing that back into the world through whatever pursuit is most yours.

The first of these will be on Tuesday 11th from 6pm top floor Dervish. This will be held indoors with a healing focus. Will will be setting intentions following the New Moon in Virgo and before the Equinox tips the axis towards Samhain.

The first session will include an introduction to the medicine wheel (which is the format we will work with each month). We first connect with Earth and begin a sensory quest of animating our experiences of the natural world. We will share an Ogham Tree Circle for reflection, intention and divination. There will be discussion around re-sanctifying spaces by tending natural grottos (fairy rings, wild spaces) and creating relationship. There may also be some dried figs and dark chocolate, and tay.

Other sessions will be held in different outdoor locations that are accessible by foot or by bus. They will be held close to or on New Moons, Festivals or Full Moons. In doing this we are honouring our human and non-human ancestors and supporters.

The workshops are on donation, suggested donation is 10euro, but a donation of an open mind and honest heart is sufficient too!
Please invite friends and bring your own ideas and practices.