It’s that time of year: everything seems to be winding down and speeding up, all at the same time. Friendsgivings and family get togethers to plan, snowy days and hot beverages to enjoy, gift and card lists getting longer – everything helping to foster a bit of seasonal cheer.

I wasn’t always a fan of the hustle and bustle though.

The Littlest Grinch

Kids are supposed to like the holidays, especially Christmas, but in this and many other ways I just had to be different. I was miserable and wanted company. I didn’t understand why we were killing trees and forced to see family members that we otherwise had nothing to do with.

It all seemed excessive, pointless and contrived. I didn’t keep these thoughts to myself either. I remember being asked to help decorate the tree once and responding obstinately, “I’ll watch but you can’t make me participate.”

Image: Panda Whale

I was raised Christian and had a voracious appetite for knowledge as a kid. These two aspects of my childhood were consistently at odds but ultimately lead me to the depth of spiritual experiences I enjoy today. Back then though, I was always asking too many questions.

I knew Christ’s most probable birthday wasn’t in December. I never had the chance to believe in Santa and though I had generally unlimited access to the Bible, other Christian texts, encyclopedias and my homeschool curriculum, anything with actual Pagan or eclectic spiritual content was completely prohibited. I simply didn’t have the framework my inquisitive mind needed to appreciate these Pagan, albeit bastardized traditions.

Transformed

Today, I am the householder for my grandma’s mountain estate. I am the hostess for Friendsgiving and holidays. I not only decorate for but plan, pull off and even enjoy Christmas festivities now.

I’m sending out cards this season. It’s reached a critical level. I am a full fledged holly jolly person these days.

Image: funnybeing.com

So what changed? It’s true, I am not the same person as that very stubborn little girl, but even just years ago I struggled with seasonal affective disorder and abhorred all holiday traditions. For all my personal development and growth, I’ve still felt like I had to manipulate myself into participating and pretend that I cared about these things I genuinely found frivolous for the majority of my adult life.

The change wasn’t about me, it was about my awareness. I became aware of the Pagan roots, the actual traditions and the intentions behind the creation of these holidays. That’s it!

Creating Genuine Appreciation

Granted, awareness isn’t always endearing. Thanksgiving isn’t one of those holidays with admirable roots, but it’s still important to be aware.

Knowing what was done to the indigenous North Americans following their naive hospitality towards the pilgrims, I can purposefully acknowledge both humanity’s capacity for good as well as for evil. I can make meaning that extends beyond media and cultural portrayals and stereotypes, becoming more intentional, respectful and truly grateful. Personally, I celebrate what I call Displaced People’s day instead of Thanksgiving, trying to bare in mind that humanity’s greatest threat, as well as benefit, has always been humanity itself.

Image: The Atlantic

Appreciation doesn’t mean adoption. Christmas is another one of those celebrations I’ve found joy in tweaking for myself. From the outside looking in, it’s all the same, but my heart is filled with cheer because it knows the true original intentions of the traditions I have now. I will be celebrating a sort of Yule/Saturnalia mash up.

I will decorate because bringing more lights and greenery into the house is an ancient practice for combating seasonal affective disorder. I will give gifts and send cards because during this coldest and darkest time of the year it’s more important than ever to encourage and support our loved ones. I will cook for family and entertain friends to create a sense of warmth and community in order to offset the isolation of winter.

Letting the Truth Inspire

I don’t need Santa coming down the chimney with diamonds. I don’t need lavish gifts or celebrations. I don’t need religious obligations. Just give me the truth.

I can relate to feeling cold, sad and alone in winter! I don’t want my loved ones to feel that! Of course I’ll do my part to encourage and support my community so that we all make it through to see another spring!

It’s that easy.

Image: Instagram

Turns out I wasn’t every really obstinate. I always wanted the truth. Now that I’ve got it, nothing else matters.

“The simple truth will always have the most power and potentiality.”

mayryanna

Happy holidays and blessed be my beloveds – and yes, I sincerely mean that!

Another week is dawning and I for one am grateful to have made it through the heart wrenching emotional gymnastics of last week’s soul-healing vibes. The cosmos wasted no time in shaking us all up and now that things have gotten real, real deep, we’re being told to relax and trust the divine.

This week’s spread was intuitive, moving across the chakra stones barrier in the middle of my table mat in a zigzag fashion; beginning at the top left, moving to the center right and then down to the bottom left before beginning again at the top right and mirroring the pattern on the opposite sides all the way down. I find the importance of feminine and masculine energies being brought into balance as well as the double helix form both indicated in this spread.

I began with the Shadowscapes Tarot Deck:

This Week’s Intuitive Spread

Acknowledgement

VII The Chariot (Shadowescapes Tarot Deck)

We have been seen! The Major Arcana card XII, The Chariot indicates that the shadowy journeys we’ve taken into the depths of raw, ugly yet essential truth are being recognized. We are being hailed as the captains of our own destiny’s and our guides are celebrating our autonomy, not through subjugation but rather, through glorious harmonization!

As the 11/11 portal opens on Monday, we start our week with a powerful suspension of time and space. The heavens, our ancestors and deities, are all pulling back at the edges of reality to create an endlessness in which we are given a chance to take that rejuvenating deep breath we’ve been longing for. This won’t look like a lazy day though, in fact, anticipate the flow state and don’t be surprised when you get a lot more than you planned done for a change.

The divine message of this day is: “I am a blessed child of the divine!”

A Challenge

XIX The Sun, Reversed (Shadowscapes Tarot Deck)

In the midst of this glorious and divinely supportive celebration, we are still being called to refine and explore our awareness. The Sun coming up reversed is not typically considered fortunate, as the Sun is one of the most fortunate cards in the deck and a reversal suggests density or conflict of some kind, yet I intuit this to indicate a highly fortunate opportunity all the same.

We are all being called to reconsider what success, joy and fortune mean to us. I feel this reversal is speaking more to an internal condition rather than an external circumstance. What are the ways in which you might be limiting the joy and luck in your life because of personal biases or conditioned beliefs? Be prepared to start asking this and questions like it on Tuesday the 12th when the moon reaches peak fullness in the sign of Taurus.

We would be wise to use these sesual, mindful Taurean energies and the illumination of the full moon to help us see gaps in our self-care and carve out long term plans for facilitating better habits for ourselves. Why must success equal the delegation of our needs or wants? Perhaps we can have every luxury, if only we stop waiting for others to provide them for us and do the work of reaping rewards for ourselves.

The divine message of this day is: “I am as happy as I could ever be, right now!”

Empowerment

I The Magician (Shadowscapes Tarot Deck)

The Magician card is the second card in the Major Arcana, denoted “I” because the Fool begins the set at “0.” This card is one of empowerment and asks us to look to ourselves for that which we need and desire.

Given the previous two cards, I intuit this energy to be further promoting a self-inventory of sorts. Recognize your autonomy the way your guides, deities and ancestors do; challenge any biases and dogma that keep you from the joy of each pure moment; finally, take notice of all your inherent gifts, talents and wealth. We all have so much we can be grateful for, if only we take the time to do so.

Set the limits of your wanting. Decide for yourself when more is no longer better. Make unpopular, genuine and authentic choices. See your personal human potential as the brilliantly unique gift that it is, not merely as a means to justify your existence.

Blessings Abounding

Source Dragon (Dragon Oracle Cards Deck)

Jupiter, the bearer of luck and prosperity, will begin traversing the Galactic Center on Wednesday the 13th. It will be in exact conjunction with the Center on the 19th but we will start to feel the powerful pull of this celestial alignment right away and continue to experience reverberations all the way up through the Sagittarius New Moon on the 26th. This Source Dragon card speaks directly to the power of this potent potentiality.

What does that mean for this week? Sit back, relax and get ready. It’s been watching and now, the cosmos has something it wants to show you!

The Galactic Center is at the very heart of our galaxy and consists of a black hole, a cosmic womb. When the planetary benefactor aligns with the heart of this womb, anything is possible – and with the numerological, astrological and divinatory support of the previous two days leading up to this alignment (which only happens every 12 years), we can all be sure that the divine itself is planting the seeds for our ultimate blessings to manifest!

Divine message for the 13th – 25th: “the entire cosmos aspires to bless me!”

Heart Work

Isis and Osiris (Goddesses Knowledge Card Deck)

The next card drawn encourages us not to lose sight of ourselves and our hard fought autonomy amidst all the intoxicating justifications of ego’s discontentment. Just because the divine has got our backs doesn’t mean our life’s work is done, but that’s no reason to deny ourselves the joy of living either.

Isis is one of the oldest goddesses in the Egyptian pantheon and is known for bringing her assassinated husband back to life. She is a moon goddess who gives birth to the sun. She represents the value of the fulness of life, including the dark night and even grief itself.

I believe Isis appears hear as a gentle reminder of our reversed Sun card’s message: we must question our conditions, limitations and biases. Perhaps our curses are truly blessings, disguised by our very own prejudices and perspectives. Perhaps a painless, lossless, mundane life isn’t really what we desire and we actually need the difficulties and challenges of life as much as we desire the celebrations and fortune.

Our challenges create strength in us, our weaknesses provide opportunities for growth and our love, in truth, is our commitment to preserving through pain, grief and sadness. As the divine showers us with love and affection this week, we have the perfect opportunity to look within and ask ourselves: “in what ways have I been limiting my happiness for the sake of my ego?”

Divine reminder in this card for this entire week: “my brokenness blesses!”

The Summation

The Runes Thurisaz, Tir and Ing (from top down)

Lastly, I pulled three Runes and got a beautiful summery for the week’s reading: “we are divinely supported and adored, we can rest assured that our victory is already ours; we accept the blessings of our birthright and enjoying the abundance of life’s glories right now!”

We must simply go forth and be the miracles we already are! I hope that we all find all the sensual, meaningful and glorious satisfaction available to us this week. If/when we feel the resistence to just dive into divine bliss, let’s ask ourselves: what could be more important?

Thurisaz = protection and luck
Tir = success and victory
Ing = accomplishment and relief

Image: Google

A couple weeks ago I posted on my personal social media about doing a “no-thing” year, starting November 1st after Samhain. It’s officially been one week since the start of this new focus for my personal development and I feel called to flush out my parameters for this goal.

Already I’ve noticed some points of tension:

  • Food, and/or
  • Household purchases

Living with grandma, my own personal choices are never purely concerned with me. So, how do I navigate grocery shopping when I want to stop buying “things” myself but grandma always gets whatever she wants?

Likewise, what about household items? Hand and dish soap? Toiletries?

Image: Google

Taking it Easy on Myself, to Start

Given that this commitment is for a year, I’ve decided to ease in to it for the sake of longevity. So, I don’t have all the answers yet, but I plan to get them via this challenge rather than in spite of it.

I will continue to shop for the household items and food as I have been, but will also be examining my own consumption to try and determine what “things” aren’t necessary or are only serving me. However, for the time being I am not going to be finicky about insuring I don’t consume household or food “things.” Towards the end of December I will be reevaluating this portion and further acting on the observations of these next two months.

Image: Google

So, what are the solid parameters I am starting with then?

My “No-Thing” Year Rules:

  • Stop purchasing “things” for myself
    • Clothes, Shoes, Accessories, etc
    • Make-up or Personal Toiletries
    • Books, Journals, Notebooks, etc
    • Knickknacks, Blankets, Art, etc
  • Stop purchasing “things” as gifts (because of who I am, I started collecting holiday gifts for friends/family in October, but I will be crafting/making any other gifts I might still need or focusing on gifting experiences)
  • Stop consuming food “things” personally
    • Fast foods, to-go coffees, snacks, candies, etc (packaged food-like products)
    • Focus on whole foods like fruits, vegetables, nuts or homemade
    • Take notice of “things” consumed as meals (packaged/premade products) by myself and grandma, looking for ways to reduce these habits and return to whole-foods
    • The hospitality of others will be accepted gratefully regardless

That being said, I anticipate a few more grey areas:

  • Gifts = will still be accepted, gratefully
  • Returns = recieved items may be exchanged for other “things”
  • My Cats = will still be getting their foods, litter, treats and toys as they always do
  • Souvenirs = not allowed; myself and others will have to be content with stories and pictures from any trips taken
  • Subscriptions, Memberships, etc = to be reevaluated, only kept/purchased if deemed necessary for my work
  • Experiences, Trips, Courses, etc = not to be limited by this commitment, but still considered on a case by case basis
  • Miscellaneous =
    • This commitment is not a justification for increased spending in other areas
    • I will not ask or “hint at” others to purchase “things” on my behalf (this doesn’t apply when asked what I would as holiday/birthday gifts)

Maintaining Flexibility

All that being said, I am excited to have opportunities to explore my consumption habits and may make adjustments and changes as I go. When I am reevaluating for 2020 at the end of December I will likely choose the next point of reevaluation, and so on.

The purpose of this commitment is to purposefully establish myself as a consumer, not to merely stop all consumption. As humans, we all consume, digest and produce waste in a variety of ways, this isn’t itself a flaw. It is over-consumption that causes imbalance and it is this trend in my own life that I desire to quell.

The minimalist lifestyle is highly appealing to me, but I am not at a place in life where I can make that drastic of a change. Therefore, I am taking more modest steps in that direction.

It makes sense to me that prior to reducing my stuff, I need to get my purchasing under control. I need to create some space to discover what is truly essential. Otherwise, I’ll simply replace what I get rid of.

Perhaps along my journey this year I will find myself naturally and organically reducing by using up things I already have. Perhaps there will come a time for more purposeful purging. Regardless, this is sure to be an illuminating experience!

Showing up for the Yin yoga class my sister teaches at our local wellness center last night, I was cheerfully greeted by one of my Kundalini teachers at the front desk. “Oh Mayry! I’m so glad you’re here, it’s so good to see you!” Her smile was so big her eyes scrunched together to make room.

Now, this isn’t uncommon for the vibes at Taspens, but last night was also special because I had just officially registered for the Kundalini teacher training course they will be offering in the fall. I beamed right back at her, filled with joy and excitement for being a part of this incredible local tribe.

I was a bit early for the Yin class and began some light conversation. The owner of Taspens and a woman I consider a personal guru of mine joined in as well. She also teaches Kundalini and was excited to let me know a few of my next steps.

“I’ll schedule a call with the teacher for you, to discuss a few things,” she said, and then went on to mention the mandatory Saturday Sadhana practices during the course and signing the code of conduct at the end to get our certification. I nodded along in agreement, smiling.

Suddenly, my attention shifted though, “the code is essentially a commitment to the yogic lifestyle. So, trying for a vegetarian diet, abstaining from drugs…” Right there, “uh oh,” I thought as I shifted uneasily on my feet.

Honoring My Truth

I have been leaning vegetarian for the last dozen years but, no drugs? Given that I just found my hag stone after my plant medicine retreat in June and, according to my own personal beliefs, have thus been officially called to the Shamanic path, I worried this might actually be a problem.

“So…” I started, interrupting the flow of chatter between the teachers, “if I were unable to sign the code because I’ve been called to the Shamanic path, would I still be able to take the course?” I asked, nervously.

Shamanism is a part of my path for sure, but I’ve also been called to Kundalini. Not being able to reconcile the too seemed completely wrong – Pachamama had come to me through Ayahuasca AND through Kundalini, how could they be opposed?

“Yes,” both teachers exclaimed, looking at me and then each other, then back at me. They started, “and it’s just about trying your best, we understand some people have to eat meat for medical reasons… Maybe just try it for 40 days, you might be surprised…”

I cut in again, “I have no problem with the diet, it’s just that… I am called to the utilization of ‘drugs’ on a ceremonial basis for medicinal and religious purposes.” They seemed to finally understand what I meant now, their eyes widening to fully ingest what I was saying. “Oh, no, well – he just wants to get everything out in the open up front so there are no suprises when it’s time to sign the code… But, you will talk to him so you can mention that. If at the end you don’t sign, that will always be your choice to make.” My guru finished, half-smiling.

The big smile returned to my face and both teachers responded with large smiles blooming across theirs as well. “Okay awesome,” I sighed, relieved.

Embracing the Unknown

Now, some may wonder, “what’s the point of taking Kundalini teacher training if you know you won’t be able to get certified?!” And honestly, I don’t blame them.

In this world of achievement laden “value,” it would seem I am setting out to rob myself. After all, the certification is the reason for undergoing any professional training, is it not? Well, I suppose it’s not for me.

Some might say I should just lie, or withhold the truth, sign the code anyway. Others might tell me I need to really consider the code and whether I truly feel called to both of these seemingly “contradictory” paths, or even something to the tune of “perhaps your plant medicine experiences are behind you and this is the next step in your development?” To be sure, I’ve thought all these things for myself already too.

But, I cannot lie. Fundamentally, my commitment to authenticity and truth is what has aligned me with my path, and subsequently both of these paths too. And undoubtedly, I feel beyond called to both of them, I am already connected and intertwined with them spiritually. Finally, given the parts that plant medicine has played in my past, I cannot in good consciousness banish all plant medicines from my life in the future – regardless of how well meaning my intention is in doing so.

No, the mental gymnastics to be done here are not to rectify me to the norm – it’s the opposite. I will be a Kundalini Shaman and I will learn to walk this line with grace and appreciation.

Letting Mayryanna Bloom

Somehow it all seems better suited anyway… I’m not just a guru, I’m a Rockstar Guru. I’m not just a yogi, I’m a Rebel Yogi. I’m not just a Shaman, I’m an Modern Eclectic Pagan Medicine Woman who researches and utilizes a variety of ancient spiritual healing modalities to live my authentically powerful life to the fullest – all without shame, malice or discontentment.

I don’t need a certificate. I will proudly slap “Unofficial” to the front of my teacher title and gratefully explain my why to everyone who cares.

This “inconvenient truth” will not detract from me at all, no. This will only empower me more. By allowing myself unpopular distinctions, I will emerge unparalleled.

By allowing myself unpopular distinctions, I will emerge unparalleled.

So, after some careful reflections and considerations, I’m even more excited to study Kundalini now! Certification shmertification – nothing compares to a soul that fully embraces its fate, inconveniences and all (shout out to Nietzsche for his concept of Amor Fati). I am simply grateful for the opportunity to learn, to grow and to further become this gloriously inglorious woman: Mayryanna.

I pulled the card

not knowing

just desperate

seeking the answers to unasked questions

Lotus guru

Blooming

like dance

Smiling as she colorfully unfurls

I didn’t feel it then

the weight

of petals

pulling themselves delicately apart

It’s hard work

being gentle

letting go

unraveling to reveal hidden glories

Happening silently

frustratingly

bit by bit

until nothing is left but undoing

Thrusting vulnerability

exposing

inviting

giving all to possibilities

Spreading wide open

expanding

exploding

willing to fall completely apart

And watching myself fall

bit by bit

beautiful peices

collapsing back into myself

An act of violence

this blooming

this undoing

itself cannot be undone

Yet these dead petals

decaying

become more

feeding the blooms of tomorrows