I’ve been on a bit of a rabbit hole with my own personal development and awareness the past year or so. For those of you who follow astrological trends, I am in my Saturn return. A period of time often linked with reconciling one’s early adulthood and forming a new version of self. Usually around the transition from one’s twenties to thirties.
It has been one of those chunks of time where I think things have spiraled and I’m learning and reflecting, and then I find another depth to the rabbit hole to negotiate.
It’s not surprising to me at this point to feel my urge to write about my reflections returning again after a couple years off. It feels to me like the past couple years, as I’m sure it feels to many, were a stark pause in a lot of ways. I feel like I am slowly emerging from a fog to remember myself, and also meet myself again. With that emergence comes a revitalization in my ability to share, to write and to connect to my spiritual side. That part didn’t leave me the past couple years, but it did feel off to the side. I feel, though, the experiences I had without it were a necessary stepping stone to getting those parts of me back. Just as much as some of the experiences, perspectives and choices I am reconciling lately were necessary experiences along the human journey.
Today felt like a further step out of the fog (that has been THICK the past few weeks).
After a number of days feeling a little stuck in my own shit, I made a wise decision to take a few days away from the routine. The universe helped me out a bit by leaving the latter part of this week a bit lighter workwise. Today I started with a delightful, creative session with Lady Lorelie, a local artist who does henna/jagua and handpoke tattoos. I visited her to have a design put on my forearm. The theme?
Pansies, which started as a remembrance of my late grandmother and spiraled into a remembrance of giving myself a little grace.
Pansy, from the French “pensee”: to think, to ponder.
Historically symbolizing love, compassion, thoughtfulness, free thinking and remembrance.
For me, today, and for as long as the jagua stains last, a beautiful reminder for self compassion, inner softness and turning my empathy towards myself once in a while.
It’s also a reminder of the wonderful supports I have around me, and that softness can be a strength if I let it.
From there, I stopped briefly at one of my old haunt coffee shops for a quick tea, journal and selfie taking session to share the new design. I wrote briefly about so much of the last little while beginning to feel like a sort of initiation process. A journey in all aspects of myself with no clear destination, but one that felt uniquely timely and necessary. It was a nice little reminder of the power of changing our scenery once in a while. Sitting, reflecting, writing, whatever in coffee shops used to be a few times a week occurrence for me, before the pandemic and before we migrated out of the city limits.
Next, I made my way to Hollow Reed School of Healing Arts, my lovely neighbors at the St Norbert Arts Centre for a meditation with my herbalism teacher, Chad. The portion of my herbalism apprenticeship I am in has begun integrating some non-linear ways of learning and seeking guidance. Today’s session focused on a visualization into plant and animal guides, and the insights I got were quite pertinent.
When invited to open my mind to a potential animal spirit guide I was surprised to find a large, black female panther jumping out of the tree at me. So surprised at first I attempted to brush the visual off, so sure that there was no way such a powerful guide would be coming at me. After reminding myself to just experience instead of logic, the panther stuck around and guided me through the next stages of the visualization.
We headed through a forest, into a pond and into the ground to another realm. The panther by my side and clear visuals around me. As we walked through a tall grass field we ended up at a large fire, surrounded by various beings. I was invited to recognize the elder around the circle and approach. The elder had a human, robed, body and a large, light furred bison head. I was invited to hear them speak my name. I heard “Siya” (s-eye-ah). I offered a gift of thanks to the elder, and received a clear, oval crystal pendant in return. Around the rest of the circle I saw various other guides, which I think will require a future visit to this realm to get to know.
As I departed the circle and moved with the panther back to the world where I started the journey, I was invited to notice any plants that stood out to me or called to me. Two very clearly came into view for my attention:
Tiger Lily, and then Yarrow.
The Tiger Lily seemed emphasized in its colouring, with oranges, freckled brown and greens standing out. It also seemed emphasized it its tall, long even elegant shape. I got a drying sense through my chest and centre line, and a sense of wanting to stand up tall.
Yarrow, completely in contrast, appeared as a human form. Dressed in a flowing, white dress and robe with a flower crown. She was dancing, and right away I felt like I was at a music festival in the woods. Her feet were covered in dirt, her face embodying the knowing of self. There was a sense of buoyancy, a joy, and a balance that she imparted. A reminder that you can be creative, barefoot and dancing while also being integrated with your whole being, balanced and grounded.
As I closed out the meditation and came back to the real world to debrief my experience with Chad, I was struck by many themes relating to what I’ve been negotiating in myself lately.
The panther, an embodiment of feminine power and prowess. Symbolically linked in so many ways to the spiritual journey, working with and alchemizing one’s shadows and stepping into an empowered version of self.
Tiger Lily, this one I had to do some research on as it’s a plant I haven’t come across much in my learnings yet.
My favorite description so far of Tiger Lily:
https://www.rawberta.com/tiger-lily/. I specifically love the semantics of “integration of feminine values”. This has been a bit of a theme for me lately in a few different ways.
Another source spoke to tiger lily embodying the “assertive” or “belligerent” feminine nature. Haha.
This was an interesting read that linked Tiger Lily specifically to the second chakra. https://www.the-numinous.com/2016/07/27/lily-healing/
Yarrow: https://www.rawberta.com/yarrow/. “An energetic sieve”
Both have integrating capacity with Tiger Lily being a bit more of that “big cat” energy and Yarrow being a bit more balancing.
The theme that kept coming up as I google’d yarrow in the realm of energetics was “healing and love” which with the image I received of a dancing hippy is pretty accurate. There’s also a number of references linking yarrow to the wounded healer Chiron myth. To me, this resonates quite a bit with what I’ve been reading about the panther.. shadow work and alchemizing things towards the whole. This was a lovely deep dive into Yarrow’s history: https://www.rowanandsage.com/blog/2019/12/6/plant-profile-yarrow
I can’t find anything official about their use together however its super interesting to see how they could align. Integration, balance, full expression of self and wounds as openers to greater healing.
Something I’ve sat with, time and time again, the past few months is a fear. Resistance, often unconscious, to experiencing and expressing all of it. I know I’m not alone in this. The resistance to certain feelings or expressions. That is a human trait if one ever existed. It’s a lesson I keep returning to. Feeling the fear, the resistance and then softening into the feelings that they are protecting me from. It’s always in different contexts. Sometimes it’s related to emotions or expressions of parts of myself I’ve curated for a long time. Other times in relationship to others, vulnerability. The messages of those plants, and especially the message of the panther speak strongly to the intent I’ve even carrying through much of this.. standing tall as I embody more and more of myself.
A teacher of mine often uses the saying “scared and sacred are spelled with the same letters”. I’m often saying to clients, fear is protective but it doesn’t have to be inhibitory. It is prep work, if we can see and feel it that way. As I walk this uncharted path in myself, day by day I am relearning what it means to see myself as a sacred being.
What I know today is that taking a step away from my routine was a good choice. It allowed me to see a different perspective and let some alternative information in. And to top it all off I got to bask in the almost August sunshine, embodying a bit that panther energy as I sunned myself in the gardens at SNAC.