As the wheel of the year turns to the dark months in a blaze of colour, the trees teach us their yearly lesson in how to let go with grace, and leaves dance their joy down into the embrace of the Earth. It is time for introspection, taking stock, and reflecting on the gifts and lessons of the season.
What a beautiful autumn we have been given this year; September was a sweet kiss of sunshine and easy clear skies here in Avalon, much in opposite to the cold grey and wet that most of middle Europe was experiencing. It’s been a time of European travel and connecting to many dear friends for me.
How lucky I am to get to return and travel to these amazing places. How lucky I am to live in Europe which I love. How amazing to see the similarities and taste the differences of the people and lands of this my Mother Continent. And how fabulous to find Goddess and Her people everywhere. The circle is expanding and the awakening is arising! When the Lady of Avalon appeared during the Friday ceremony in the Glastonbury Goddess Conference this year, She told us all to choose life…fully. I am integrating Her message in a way I had not anticipated and in such resonance with my inquiry and practice around desire and purpose.
Budapest stands out in my memory particularly; wrapped in a warm damp blanket of grey mist, almost drizzle, the hills of Buda were green and the buildings mysterious, whispering of history, the passage of people and tribes. I stayed in the home of my fabulous organiser and friend, who cooked a feast to celebrate happy news and returning friends from far. Standing on the small balcony overlooking the ruins of the Roman amphitheater, where lovers were kissing and women strolled or sat together, talking. A child on a red bike followed the trail of gladiators and I enjoyed shadow hunting, inner and outer, in that dusk of mist and dimming light.
It certainly aided the workshop into Soft Power and Full Desire in Budapest, which requires a shaking up of perceptions and owning of places most of us would prefer to avoid looking. Around 25 courageous women found their way to the top floor of an old hospital building now used as a school and learning center in the middle of the old town of Pest. It is always such a joy to work with Mia Havasi and share our love for Goddess and the Mysteries with a group that is growing Hungary.
An easy train journey takes one from Budapest to Bratislava, and it still always amazes me, to be traveling so freely in what not so very long ago were lands locked behind an ‘Iron curtain’. My childhood and teens were influenced by the time when the people and places of Eastern Europe were made out to be and thought of as ‘the others, the enemy’. It makes me very happy to feel so at home in these ancient heart lands of Europe.
September this year saw us celebrating the completion of the first Priestess of the Goddess training in Slovakia for at least 1500 years. The initiation weekend of the Priestesses of Zivena, center Goddess of the wheel of Slovakia, completes my work with a wonderful group of 33 women, who have journeyed together and remembered Her names, ways, symbols, myths and mysteries. Beautiful elemental ceremonies in the magical great deciduous woodlands near Modra prepared the participants for a magical dedication ceremony in the Goddess temple. We honoured Morana, Melusina, Zoritska, Vesna, Venusa, Dona, Roda, Mokosh amongst other Goddesses of the wheel with ceremony and feasting to celebrate the returning of Her in all Her forms and aspects. My sister priestesses Andrea Sobotova and Kristina Dubajova will take on the next cycle of training which is set to start in November in Bratislava, and I will return next year to teach advanced priestessing skills workshops.
2016 has the start of the Sacred Sexual Priestess training in Slovakia planned for women who have done some priestess workshops and who feel called to this empowerment and reclaiming of Her Loving ways. So keep an eye out and catch me in Bratislava in the next 12 months if you’re interested in participating. Join my mailing list to receive updates on this and other upcoming workshops.
From Bratislava to Prague, a city which welcomes me back like an old love affair rekindled. Over the last 5 or 6 years Lilia Koudnoutdinova has organized workshops for me here, on subjects ranging from Birth preparation and Doula training, to seasonal Goddess explorations, sacred sexuality workshops and the re-finding of the Czech Goddess wheel. Together, as sister priestesses of Avalon, we’ve taught the first group of women reclaiming the path of the Priestess of Libuse, center Goddess of the Czech lands last year. This collaboration is now changing as life is taking our work focus into different lands, so it was especially sweet to be together one more time in Skalka, beautiful abundant land amongst breasts shaped hills, golden fields and peaceful lakes. We created awonderful weekend of teaching and experiencing Embodiment of the Lover Goddesses of the Czech lands. There are so many women now who can and do hold this priestess path sacred and walk it well, what a joy to witness! I will return to Skalka in November to give a ‘Mystery, Magic and Wisdom of the Crone Goddess’ workshop organized by Katka Kramolisova.
From Prague 3 Italian flights took me to Pantelleria and a warm welcome from Fleur Chetwynd and this primordial very alive island. Here we ran the Wellbeing retreat; inquiring into the nature of our essence, pleasure, rest and wilderness connection. Staying in a beautiful traditional house and eating fabulous food, the sun sparkled on the crystal clear sea, the natural hot springs by the sea and sauna high up in the rocks delighted us all, while the air smelled of Africa and filled each morning with sky dancing swallows.
We played with the elements, mud, water, sun, steam and earth, and found the way into experiencing Essence as our source and in our connection to the land and each other.
Every afternoon Fleur and I would facilitate a workshop space and hold evening group shares where we had opportunity to explore deeper patterns more fully. It is a profound joy to co-facilitate with friends who are on their own journey and our willingness to share and compliment our unique ways is so beautiful. I am so grateful to Fleur Chetwynd for hosting and holding and her amazing ability to feel and be love. Thank you to all the beings who showed up and supported us, to the Island, there are no words for the gift. Thank you to all who journeyed to her, with us and deeper into themselves.
I had an other opportunity to work together in this way, this time with Karl Heart from South Africa, in Seville at the beginning of October. I’m very grateful for my fellow travelers who teach and way-show with whom it is such a delightful easy pleasure to share and co-create, to flow and facilitate the deepening, opening, freeing, loving places in ourselves and in others. Our sum is so much greater then the parts….and I had so much fun!
The work with the Seville group has been developing over the last 3 years and is wonderfully organized by Raquel Ferga. This time I held a ‘Soft Power – Full Desire’ workshops for women and then a mixed group weekend with Karl “Blue Integration’- the dance of the healthy feminine and masculine.
I love the light, heat, smells and sounds of this city; flamenco beats and songs drift into the workshop space and jasmine wafts in the sun-filled air. The group is a blessing, with people so willing and open to their journey and so in their hearts, it is a complete privilege to come here a couple of times a year. I shall return to Seville in January and then in March and October 2015 and am looking forward to developing the online ‘Soft Power – Full Desire’ program for women in Spain.
Soft power and full desire exercise
Here’s a taste of some of the practices that help you feel and begin to become intimate with your ‘soft power and full desire’. This next exercise is designed to increase the experience of life/sexual energy as ecstatic in your being. To become accustomed to containing more energy by remaining charged and relaxed, while postponing discharge and contraction.
“In a space you feel comfortable and safe, honour your body and find pleasure in your senses. You are inviting an increase in the overall energy level of your being as well as in your sexual energy, and stretch your capacity to contain charge, rather then needing to ‘do’ anything with it.
Come to as high a level of charge, of excitation, including in your sex, without climaxing or tensing your muscles. In other words, stay just this side of the orgasmic wave, but keep bringing your breath to help you stay relaxed and expanding rather then contracting and tensing. Then stop and wait for an hour, without contracting physically, emotionally, mentally. Give yourself permission to be with what is for you in your body. Be relaxed and surrendered. Turn your attention to the energy in your body, and beyond your body if you like, and allow that energy to move as freely as you can. Lie still, or move, make sound, sing, dance. During this time the energy may disperse away from the genitals, bringing the whole body to a higher energy level. After an hour, continue to climax if you wish to”.
This exercise brings us up again and again to the limit of what we can now contain without discharging, and asks us to stay there, relaxed, for some time. Eventually this can develop into an experience called dwelling in the valley of orgasm, which is an experiential way to dance with your Soft Power.
Meanwhile, back home in Glastonbury, the new Priestess of Rhiannon training has started with the Wise Crone Rhiannon weekend. Lucie Owen is the lovely assistant this year and Amanda Baker will be the Initiate coming in to apprentice the training. A large group have heard the call this year, stepping onto the path of remembering their Sacred Sexual Priestess self and daring to look into the mirror of Rhiannon, She who illuminates our way. It is exciting to start the cycle of the wheel again, each year She shows me more and the journey deepens. The last 9 months have been about really finding the fullness of my desire and daring to explore and own places where I would sell out and allow my empty desire to hook me into settling for what I can get rather then what I truly want and choose. When I feel lost in this enquiry, She reminds me of my soft power, and that life is erotic and sexual. Our sexual energy and sensuality is our groundedness. Our fear of this weakens our heart and our physical connection with self and others, cutting us off from joy, love, fulfillment, abundance, life. To be more alive is to be more sexual, more sensuous. When we soften our fear, our sensuality and sexuality becomes available to us, and our love-choices become free, and I can dare wanting to want.
The work is not finished, for any of us, and so it is a gift to have the men and women of POR year 2 to really delve into the deeper layers of the work with. The practices the Tribe of Rhiannon are learning and practicing are so healing and beautifully create the energetic field of Love. I experience this field of sexual and heart energy as the creating flow of life. Great spiraling circles as figures of eight creating form through which to physically manifest as the magic that already is. All that is needed is to surrender to the presence. Witnessing this magic in action in this beautiful group is a humbling joyous thing for me. I look forward to continuing with this group next year in a couple of retreats where we will have longer time together, and will run year 2 of the Priestess of Rhiannon training again in 2016 for men who’ve done the Brotherhood journey and priestesses of Rhiannon who want to specifically work in sexual healing with men.
Lastly this month I had the chance to join the Crucible institute’s clinical sexual psychotherapy workshop by David Schnarch in Berlin and Helmstedt. It was strange being in Berlin and I very much enjoyed my free afternoon exploring this extraordinary city, it’s museum and places of so much of the worse of recent history. Berlin is living proof that seemingly impossible change is not only possible but the natural progression of the human spirit moving in it’s evolution.
I enjoyed the rich and edgy teachings, the role play, ‘clinical shadow hunting’ and brain neurobiology, and have returned inspired and fired up to use these great tools and teachings both on myself and in couple’s therapy sessions. David Schnarch has over 30 years of experience and is a leader in his field, he shares his technique and teachings with clarity and humour, speaking the things most therapist would run from, with a no-nonsense yet compassionate style. I enjoyed learning from him and his wife Ruth a lot. It was particularly lovely to meet so many very inclusive and genuinely interested therapists doing amazing work in sexual therapy of one kind or an other, who it was a great pleasure to connect with. It’s good to know there are people like these in the world, doing the inner and outer work, and that we are able to meet with such ease and respect.