COVEN. CALL. ONE.
LISA LISTER & LAURA ANN (SHAKTI SUNFIRE)
LISTEN: MODERN WITCHCRAFT.
PART ONE. "LIVING YOUR WITCH INTO THE WORLD".
ABOUT LISA. Crowned ‘the defender of female awesomeness’ by Cooler magazine, Lisa Lister – writer, plus-size yoga teacher, feminista + menstrual maven – is dedicated to helping women to crack their lady code – an ancient code connected directly to mumma nature, the moon and your menstrual cycle – that once cracked, gives you insta-access to monthly super powers that can be used to create a business and life you love. www.thesassyshe.com
Part 2: Laura Anne Blakeman aka Shakti Sunfire
ABOUT SHAKTI: An internationally recognized movement guide and an advocate of the Earth, Shakti Sunfire blends her deep love of conscious dance, classical Tantra, yoga, mythology, ecology, and the study of many nature-based traditions into inspiring thematic explorations of Soul. A true rolling stone, Shakti teaches workshops, leads retreats, and performs all over the world. A passionate writer, Shakti dives deep into human experience, exposing universal connection and poignant synchronicity through mytho-poetic narrative. She has deepened her knowledge and delighted in the ancient art of Soul Astrology with Astrologer and Soul Guide, Sheila Belanger, and has traversed the river of Soul with visionary Bill Plotkin - founder of the Animas Valley Institute. She is an initiate on the Priestess Path of Awakening Avalon with Holly Hamilton. All of whom are influences and teachers that she continues to work with to this day. www.therhythmway.com
Sarah: Okay, so let's just take a minute, on the first inaugural coven conversations, to close our eyes. I'm nervous, so I put my hand on my heart, when I'm nervous and tell my inner child that everything is fine, and mother has her. Take a deep breath. Ask that, this work be of the highest service for the self and the feminine, and the other. That, we may be healed and inspired by this work, that we feel safe, and held and guided in this process. That it will serve for the highest healing of the feminine, the earth, her creatures, and her men and women and children. May this work bring us into wholeness and oneness.
That the powers of the North bring us grounded protection. The powers of the East, the air, bring us inspiration and guidance. The powers of the South bring us fire and passion for this work. The powers of the West and water, that we may emerge from this womb of this work, reborn. The self and the spirit, may we be one with God and Goddess, within and without.
And with that, I just want to say thank you Lisa Lister, for being on the call with us tonight.
Lisa: Oh, blessed be sister, that was beautiful. Thank you for having me.
Sarah: Thank you. Yeah, I'm usually ... I guess in the last part of that invitation should be, "May we find total joy and pleasure in this" because that's what the Goddess asks of us. That is, the prophecy of their great native American Hopi Prophecy too. That, when we gather, we do it in celebration because the world needs our joy. So I just want to introduce Lisa Lister. She's one of my favorite out-witches on the planet. She's the guardian of the Sassy She work. The goddess comes through her, in many ways.
She teaches women about their moon cycles, she teaches them yoga. You talk about being a plus-size yoga teacher, which we'll get into. Really owning the beauty of that beautiful curvaceous, goddess body of yours. You teach workshops, and you write about your feminine awakening. You write about your path to healing through illness, which is the path to yourself, the invitation. Let's start. How do we know each other, Lisa?
Lisa: I love, love, love reading your work. I saw you on the internet, and I was like, "I love her, I need to know her. I need to make her my friend." That's what I did, that's what I did. I reached out, I was like, "Lady, I love what you do." I think that's how it started. That's how every friendships start, by women telling each other how awesome they are.
Sarah: That is beautiful. I actually saw something really interesting today, that sometimes not all of us women are going to love each other, but that we shouldn't tear each other down. I think that in the first part of my Goddess awakening, I was just sticky sweet, to even women who I didn't really jive with. That was out of alignment. It's like, you can love from a distance. Then, there's the gooey love we feel for each other.
Lisa: I think, that's the thing too. I think, knowing that as well, but then also being so open-heartedly, "Sister, you rule. I want to know you," as well. Being totally cool with being able to do that as well, at the other end of that spectrum. It's like that, "Hell yeah, I don't need to be your best friend." Then there's that whole, "Do you know what? My heart tells me, I need to know you, so I need to just be totally honest. So, do you know what? This is totally okay for me to say, I want to hang with you."
Sarah: Oh yeah, I do it to people all the time. I stalk them, until they pay attention to me. That's what I did to Shakti, when we met in Hawaii. We'll tell that story on the other call. I wasn't going home from Hawaii, not being her sister. I love when women come up to me in the street and they're, "I love that jacket." I just love women coming together that way, and just being, "You're amazing." It's still a new phenomenon because I can walk into a room and feel women staring at me or scared of me or giving me that up and down look. Then I smile at them, and they give the fake smile, which is so much worse than not smiling.
It is a huge thing to just say, "Hey sister, you're doing a great freaking job." That's what you did to me. The story is that, you signed up for my call with Shakti, our Waking the Wild Woman call. Gosh, all the Kava tea in the world, couldn't make me, not nervous. I'm so nervous for some reason. I'm never nervous on these calls. I love the excitement. One of my favorite writing teachers, Dani Shapiro says, "If it doesn't give you butterflies, forget it, it's not worth it, it's not going to change your life."
Sarah: We saw, you signed up for Waking the Wild Woman. I remember, I got an email from Shakti. She was like, "Shit, now we really have to be on our game."
Lisa: I just remember her being so excited about that. Going, "Oh my goodness, yes, finally there's a witch school. I can hang out with witches, and that's a totally cool thing to do now, as opposed to having to hide in my broom closet."
Sarah: Right, right. Have you always been a witch? Where did that begin, for you?
Lisa: My mamma, my nan. I'm from a gypsy, from a really Irish gypsy heritage. The witchcraft and the craft of being a witch, has always been intrinsically in my family. My nan was amazing. She would make amazing concoctions, if we were poorly or if we fell over. If something happened in the family, there would be some drink we'd all have to drink. It was just like a given, that was how it is.
My mom, she had amazing psychic skills. She was crazy psychic, but really did lots of dream work. I actually chose to really shun it, and wanted to really ... It was a sign of the times. My nan ... It seemed okay, for my nan to grow herbs in the garden, and then make things for us to put on our wounds and things. My mom, she really shunned that kind of witchcraft path. Then for me, just watching my nan, it was just, the most amazing. "I want to be her, I want to make magic." She didn't have a cauldron or anything, I have all of the paraphernalia. I want me, a cauldron, a wand, I wanted a bubble, I wanted a lot.
Just watching her work, in terms of how she was just a natural healer, through her words, through her very being. It was like, "Yeah." I felt it in my bones too. When I'd ask my mom about it, she would be like, "No, we don't talk about it." Thinking for my nan about it, it was just like ... That's gone through me now. Yeah, I feel like it's totally, who I am in this lifetime, and it's who I am in previous lifetimes too.
Lisa: Do you need me to switch phones?
Sarah: No, I did, I had to. We're already experiencing strange things because you're in London and I'm in Taos, I'm in the land of storms and magic. I'm not in control, ever, which is the feminine. We have a couple of women who wrote such a extraordinary essays, and they wrote in about, why they wanted to be on the call. One was leaving NYC, really rebuking patriarchal society. Surrendering to the feminine. Practicing, being out of control. That's going to happen on these calls. It's not always going to go, the way I planned or wanted it to, and that's part of my surrender. Yeah, I was scared, I was going to lose you though. That's happened to Shakti and me.
Once, Shakti didn't know she lost the line, and she was talking for 30 minutes, and she had been cut-off. I had to just jump in, and host the party because she was gone. She was like, "And that was the best shit I've ever said."
Lisa: "That was my best stuff."
Sarah: "That was my best stuff." She's like, "I really sounded like, I knew what I was talking about." You had a beautiful witch heritage, which a lot of women, we don't get that. We get, quite the opposite, that it's weird, that it's dangerous, that it's scary, that it's for freaks. You even ran into a woman recently, she asked you to read her tarot or somehow it came up. You intimated, she might be a witch, and she freaked a little, on you. She had a fear about that.
Lisa: A lot, a lot. It was the worst. If I had repackaged that in some very goddessy way perhaps, which is totally cool, but that's not what I felt, when I spoke to her. For me, witch means wild woman. She stood in front of me, as this epic sage. She knew, she knew so much. She knew so deeply, what ... In her bones, I could see that in her, and I could feel it in her. Yet ... That was the words that came out of my mouth because I'm an unedited being.
Sarah: Yeah, me too.
Lisa: Lot of trouble. Yeah, using that word really triggered her. I get it, I get it, I struggled to use it. Even though my Nan would be more of a healer, with the words that she would have used, which was not the words she would have used. It's definitely not a word by mamma would have passed down. For a while, even when I was doing corporate work, friends would say, "I can't believe, you even talk about some of that stuff on Facebook. I can't believe, you even mention that word." It's got, such negative connotations." I was, "It's what I am. You can't stay in that broom cupboard forever, it what we" ... If you know and if you feel that in you. If you feel that, what that word feels like, for you. Really sit with it and go "Okay, what is it?"
My husband is big, into 6th century Anglo-Saxon viking goriness. The history of the word witch, is wicker. Wicker, not wicker in the sense of the way we know wicker to be, but it's like witcher. It's spelled wicker, but it's actually pronounced witcher. That just meant, wise woman. That was in the 6th century, and it is just like that, how I see it. That's how I see it. It's the wise woman. It's the woman who you would go to, to ask advice. that you would go to, to be taught, the ways of being a woman. All of that good stuff, really.
Yeah, so this woman on the weekend was like, "I'm not a witch." I was like, "Okay, what word would work for you, then?" Actually, I said that to her, and then I felt. I said, "Wait actually, it's not about that. You are one. You are, and we have to start owning that word as ours, again. We have to take it back." We had a conversation, and it was a good one. I hope that she's at least, is a new thought process, in terms of what the word witch could mean, for her. That's her journey. Yeah, it's an interesting word.
Sarah: Right. Even as the feminine, it's not our job, to force people into things. She walked up to you, and you received her. Her soul wanted to know, and she'll work it out. I don't know how controversial this is going to sound, but for me it's like, being gay. Eventually, I have to come out because it feels like a self-betrayal, not to. I know it's not scary and I've had to do all the work, to deeply understand what a witch is, before I came screaming out of the broom closet, which I did. Understood it, as a wise woman healer, deeply looked into the witch-hunts. Saw, these were my sisters that were a little different, non-conformant, free, believed in the idea, "If there's a male God, there could be a female God." Believed in mystery, believed in the earth, and the powers of the earth.
These are things which have empowered me and quite literally, saved my life. It does feel like a betrayal, to not say it... I get so many emails, and 1 every 20 is, "I don't want to be this. Can you help me?" Like, I'm a crisis hotline or something. I'm offended, I'm offended by that. I don't tend to write back to those because I probably wouldn't be as sweet as I usually am.
Lisa: I think it's rather, I get it, I get that there's that fear, but the fear of the witch, is like fearing an independent woman.
Lisa: It's the same way as society treats a single woman or an independent woman because she just doesn't need validation, she doesn't need these messages that we've been given. Actually, there's a fear. I get, that the fear is real, but it's not real. That's the point. I think maybe, hearing you just say that, I feel that maybe, I've played that down. I've let people use the fear card for too long. Actually, now like you say, I'm offended by it. I heard you say, you were offended by that. Then me, that provokes a goosebump and a "Hell yeah, actually that is offensive because there is" ... I can see the bigger picture, I can see the societal picture. We are just thrown, so many mixed messages, as women. "Oh yeah, they speak their glorious minds." Yet, then when we do speak our glorious minds, then we're told that we're radical and unlovable, and that's not cool either.
Lisa: If we speak our glorious minds, if we speak from that truthful place, if we speak from that place of authenticity, which we encourage. We're like, "Yeah, everyone should be doing that." Yet, when we do, do that, that's when we get told we're being radical or that we're being too feminist or we're bring too much or we're being too unlovable. Then it comes back to the unlovable, that I'm not being enough.
Sarah: Right. We're too much, for sure, we have too much power. We had a discussion recently, that you felt that you're seeing a lot of packaging of the witch, for patriarchy, to make it sexy. She's not always sexy. It's just like Kali. Kali's not going to wear a bikini so that patriarchy isn't afraid of her.
Lisa: Could you imagine.
Sarah: On the cover of Maxim.
Lisa: Oh my God.
Sarah: Just like the women in lingerie, with their legs spread open on car hoods. You have been noticing that, there's a backlash over there, about packaging the witch, sexy. Is that true or?
Lisa: Recently, you did an interview with someone from Grazia magazine, which came out here in the UK. Grazia, you have that there, right? It's a glossy women's magazine. The piece is written by someone that's really down with all things spiritual as well. Yeah, it was an interesting piece in that, it talked about the coven, and it talked about The Craft, and all these great witchy movies. It told you, maybe some shoes you could wear with some outfit, to make you a little bit more witchier than maybe, you would have done before.
I know you haven't read the piece. The piece is great. The kind of fashion connotations that go with it, have really pissed a few people off, here. In a sense that, the British witch is not cool with that, she is not down with that, apparently. Personally, I'm all for that message, that there'd be an entry point ... I want people to see that reflection and maybe, leave that feature and just go, "Someone gets me, finally. We can talk about this, out loud. That's okay. Even if it's on a fashion feature, okay we're talking about this out loud. This is okay." We can then, start a conversation.
Yeah, some of the hardcore British witches, they're not cool with that. I've seen that, there's actually a backlash against that as well. There's actually women, who are really not cool with the idea that actually, yeah, we're glamorizing witches. I don't believe that's what that actual feature was doing. I could see that in order for this to be palatable, over other features that I've read recently, and I'm seeing in the way that the media is going. Specifically here, it's being packaged in a way that actually ... That makes it a little bit more palatable for everyone.
Sarah: I think that's okay. Even if you take the backdoor in, you still get there, right? I think that we have to take the backdoor in, sometimes. I've had a lot of backlash from really militant witches about, how stuff is done. That keeps us in the closet. Anyway that gets the conversation going about, what a witch is, what a witch really is.
Sarah: She's not dancing with the devil and sacrificing goats. I'm all for anything that gets the truth out, even if you have to put it in Valentino. For me, that's service.
Lisa: I totally agree.
Sarah: Yeah. The earth's hero right now, the earth's heroine is, the witch, the woman aligned with the earth, who understands that her body and the earth, are one. That, how she cares for herself, her healing is the world's healing. All that connectivity, that oneness of the feminine, it's the healing balm, just like something your mother would have fed you. It's, what the world needs.
Sarah: Great, I love controversy because it brings up conversation. People have to get in there and think for themselves, and figure out what the truth is. So, you teach on something that to me, is still Physics or something, which is our menstrual cycle. I'm not in-tune with mine, and it's all over the place. I think of it as an inconvenience. I'm also, newly terrified of tampons. I want to get into that because of all the studies, that they're making women sick.
I've got a couple of questions from the readers, for you. One is, when a woman wasn't ... Before her awakening, she subconsciously noticed, she was always bleeding on the full moon. Then, she woke and she started bleeding on the new moon. She wondered first, about that. What does it mean, if you bleed on a new moon or a full moon, or if you don't bleed on a moon? Let's start with that question. Are we ... Should we be aligned with the moon, somehow?
Lisa: There's so many schools of thought, right? For me, my first thing is that actually, this has become too big of a deal. When I first started really doing this work, it was like "Oh, I want to make sure, I'm bleeding on the dark moon because I want to be totally in tune with the moon. Then, it just becomes another bloody stick to beat yourself with. It's another stick women can use, to go, "Do you know what? I don't bleed on a dark moon. I'm rubbish."
For me, having worked with ... I've worked with lots of women on their menstrual cycles now. I've worked with the astrological elements of it, as well as the moon phases and the seasonal phases. All of the gorgeous cyclic ways in which we can connect with our rhythms. In terms of the moon, there's a different story. Full moon it's said, if you bleed on the full moon, it's because the work you're meant to be doing, is for the world. It's, to be outward.
When we bleed, we go into that darker, deeper space. We need the energy of the moon. Inwardly, when we're bleeding, we go inwards, and we can go deeper and darker as we need to go. Actually, if we're doing work for the world, then we're going to need to use that full moon, that bright, brilliant energy, to pull us back out and be out in the world because it's really hard. If you follow your moon cycles, it's really hard to be out in the world, if you're bleeding. Of course, we're told to stick a Tampax up there, forget it. It's not happened, not allow ourselves to flow, fully.
Actually, we should ... Not should, should's a rubbish word. If we allow that to happen, if we allow for that to work through us, then it cleanses us and it cleanses the world. For sure, if you're bleeding on the full moon, then that can be seen as though, you're doing work for the world. If you're bleeding on the dark moon, that's internal work that needs to happen. That's one school of thought.
Another school of thought is, as the person that asked the question said, "It can be that actually, when witches fully come into power" ... Again, it's a lovely thought process. When a witch is fully coming to their power, we bleed in the dark moon because we're fully in sync with the moon cycles. Personally, I really like that I bleed, right slap-bang in a waning moon, always. I'm bleeding right now, so it's a waning moon. My energy is waning, but the glow, of both the moon and the cosmic energy, is waning. I can allow myself to go into the darkness. Just as the moon goes into its darkness, I'm coming out of that. I'm as deep as the ocean, I can go as deep as the ocean, and it's really hard for me, to get back out of that space.
Actually it's really helpful that, my body brings me out of that space. My physical cycle, the stuff that's happening inside me, can bring me out of that space, just as the cosmic energy is going down into that space. If I was down there with the cosmic energy, that would not roll for this one. That would not work for me, I would never come back out.
I know that's not a really comprehensive answer, but I don't think this work is. That's the beauty of it, this work is about us finding, where we fit in that, and where the energy works for us. Then, how we can be of service, using that energy on a much greater scale.
Sarah: You're so right, it's just another stick to beat ourselves with. If we wanted to align with the new or full moon, is there actually, a way to get your cycle in tune like that?
Lisa: Yeah, because it's mainly light-based. Obviously, in times of our grandmamas and the women that have gone before us, there was less technology. We would have all bled around the same time. The nature of the seasons, the nature of the ... Daylight would have meant that, we all bled at the same time. It would generally have been with the moon because when the moon was bright, we would ovulate. Then, when the moon was dark, we would bleed.
We don't live in that kind of world anymore, sadly very sadly, which therefore means that, we're all on different cycles. Some people take synthetic hormones, in order to ... The pill and stuff. That can sway, all of those things. Yeah, so it's light-based. Generally, making sure you've got Blackout Girl and things like that. It's a really great book, it's as crazy as that. It's a really great book by Francesca Naish, I shall send you the links. She does a great book on natural fertility. She's got this great way, lots of great methods of being able to actually ... If that was something you wanted to do. I get, that it's a really great way to really, fully work with the cycles. Also know that, your cycle will be doing its own thing for a reason.
She will be showing up. You will bleed, when the moon is in Capricorn and the sun is in Sagittarius, whatever because there'll be a reason for that. There'll be a reason as to, why you bleed on day 28 of your cycle, but day 16 of the moon cycle. That's the fun bit, that's the most incredible bit, is working out, what that means to you. Why that is? Why you need those energies, at that particular time?
Sarah: It just occurred to me, I have a very close friend who hasn't gotten her period in a very long item. She's in New York City, working a crazy power job, very masculine lifestyle... So patriarchal, go go go doing energy, and she doesn't ever let herself stop. The moon time makes us slow down and get dark, and I don't think her body would even allow for that. She gets her period once a year, and she's like, "It's like Christmas." She gets really excited because she feels aligned and healthy.
Lisa: Yeah, and New York's constantly on as well. If we could go back to that light concept, the light is never off. We walked out ... I recently went, and literally, it messed up my whole cycle because of it. I literally, it felt like, "Wow, this is" ... I look at my menstrual cycle in the full phases, and it's a very spring-like city. It's that new energy and it's constantly going. It's like, "Yeah." No time to stop it.
Actually, if she's constantly running on that energy, yeah, that's full-on and that's not healthy because you're never getting around to the ... Most of us are working on that, you know? Most of us are working on that first part.
It's like the in-breath and the out-breath. We never do the out-breath well. We're always taking the in-breath, we're always working in that masculine, that real, "Let's do, let's go, let's strive, let's be." We're not taking time to just ... When we do the out-breath and we exhale, and that gorgeous opportunity to come inwards, it's all outwards focused. We need to come in again, and we're just not doing that second half of our cycle. That's why, so many women are experiencing so many crazy pains, and they're shut off on this.
I'm like, "You're a witch, you're a woman, you know these cycles, you know the power of nature's rhythms, you know that." Yet still, we're living in this society that keeps us disconnected from that, but that keeps us disconnected from our feminine powers. Our power is in our womb. She is an oracle, she is the map , and she's the place where we can create babies, ideas, life, all of that stuff. It's great way of keeping us disconnected.
Sarah: Yeah, yeah. Some of us, don't want to hear ourselves because she'd say, she'd be screaming "Stop, we need to change." Then, that would be too much work or too terrifying. How did you get into this work? Your womb called out to you, right? Will you tell us that story?
Lisa: She did not call, she kicked, she screamed, she did a whole lot of shouting. Yeah, I was in crazy pain and it was about 10, 11 years ago now, crazy, crazy pain, every bleed. Yeah, full-on. Went to the hospital, had an appointment with the doctor. He was like, "Look, you have endometriosis. That's going to play havoc with you, so do you know what? We could just whip it out." I'm like, "Whip what out?" I've actually used those words.
He was like, "You're 27" ... How old was I, at that time, I can't remember. About 26, 27. "Might as well, I just whip it out. Are you serious? Are you absolutely serious?" The pain ... For a moment, there was that, "Are you serious?" Then there was actually, "This is so freaking painful, that he might be right, actually, he might be right" I walked away with this handful of leaflets. Then, there's this real roar in my belly, it's the same day, it's just about an hour later. I'm walking out of the hospital and there's this roar. It's like a Kali Maa roar, but I didn't know her then. It was just a bit freaky because that was happening inside my body.
It was just her, "I am pissed." It wasn't just my womb, she was speaking on behalf of womb-kind. She was speaking on behalf of every woman who has not been awaken her power. In that moment, it was just like "Wow." Literally, I was traveling home on the bus, and then I got home. I saw this advert for a trip to Glastonbury. I've never been to Glastonbury before, to Avalon. It said, "It's going to be a Goddess weekend. Come join me." It was a friend that I just connected with, who was running it. I've never met her before, and she was, "I'm running this Goddess conference, you should come. Come along." I was like, "Okay."
Literally, the series of events that unfold, the places that I went to, the people I met. There's a Mary Magdalene Chapel in Glastonbury Abbey. The Goddess leader of the workshop, she said, "You have to place your hands here." I placed my hands on this altar. Again, I had not connected with Mary Magdalene, before that point. This fire just went straight through my fingers, up through my arms, straight down into my womb and it was like, "Oh my Goodness, there is work to be done. There is work, and that's what I'm here to do."
From then, she's led me. We've been on an adventure, we have been on crazy adventures. We've met Shamans, we've done Ayurvedic practices, we've had womb rites, and we've done some crazy, crazy stuff together. Actually, we've worked at healing ourselves, so that we can then heal others, and we can do this work, and share. Right now, on Instagram for example, I'm doing a hashtag sharemycycle. Everyday, I'm sharing my cycle, elements of it. The truth of, what it feels like, on day 3, to actually have to function in the world.
Actually, that's been received really well. Previously, I'd been talking about blood work. The reaction is just, it's the same as the word witch. If you talk about menstruation, if you talk about wombs and vaginas and anything that happens below your boobs, it's not cool. It's taboo, it's still taboo, and it shouldn't be. These are our places of pleasure, these are our places of pain, these are our places where ... They shouldn't be the place, where we store the fear and pain. These are the places where it should be pleasurable, it's our compass. Our womb is our compass, that area is our ... Our whole lady landscape is our compass, if we let it become that, for us.
Lisa: Sorry, I'm rambling, you need to pull me back.
Sarah: No, you just dropped some mad wisdom. What is blood? It's our wisdom, right? Its our lifetime to our ancestors and to spirit, to everything. This world, there's so much bloodshed, in this world right now, with the excess masculine ego destroying the planet, and the creatures and each other. We can watch people die in the streets, we can watch people be shot in the streets, but we can't talk about a woman bleeding between her legs. It's so crazy.
Lisa: It is, it's like women are bleeding for 5 or 6 days, however long your bleed cycle is, every month, and they don't die. That's freaking awesome. Why is that not ... That's a freaking super power. No wonder, dudes are scared.
Sarah: That was one of the fears of a woman is, "How does she bleed for 5 days, and not die? What is she made of? She births life? She must be a mystical, crazy magical creature that we have to slaughter or lock up or tame, just like nature."
Lisa: Yeah, freaking crazy.
Sarah: Yeah. You mentioned Magdalene. For our listeners who don't know Magdalene, once you're initiated into Magdalene, your life is never the same. You're talking about something that is part of the context of the whole coven is that, "I got sick, so I could heal. Everything went 'wrong' I ... I got lost, so I could find myself." That's the path of the sacred healer, right? "I healed this, so I could offer this healing to others." Man did it burn, and I almost died. Yes, many parts of me did die, but many more parts were born."
Lisa: For sure, for sure.
Sarah: Who's Magdalene, to you?
Lisa: Wow, she to me, is the ... I have no words for this woman. She has saved me on so many occasions. That was my first initiation with her, the was my first meeting was, at her altar in Avalon. Hands on the altar, and feeling her fire through my body, into my womb. Since then, she shows up so prevalently to me, when I need to do freaking work. When I need to be fully observant, when I need to ... For example, my mamma and dad, both died within 4 weeks of each other. This was maybe, 2 years ago.
Just before my mamma passed, she showed up in so many ways. My husband and I had gone to Dobosnica, and literally, as soon as we got off the airplane, there was a Magdalene Tour bus, it's literally called Magdalene Tours. We got a taxi to the hotel, and the lady was called Magdalene. Then, we went into town, and then there was a whole bunch of tourists, and they all had Magdalene T Shirts on. Literally, Magdalene T shirts. Then, we went to get on a boat, and the boat was called Magdalena. It just didn't stop. She just shows herself so prevalently, when I personally need her most. She's my Goddess, she's my home girl she's my savior. She's ultimately, for me, she's the healer. She's shows me how we can heal ourselves through sexuality, through sensuality, through passion, through compassion.
Yeah, I just could write a love letter for her, all day. It probably would be better, writing her a love letter, than saying it out loud, if I'm honest.
Sarah: It's very hard to talk about her. I found that ...
Lisa: It is.
Sarah: Some things are too sacred, to speak of. That is ... Let's talk about, where you met her though, Avalon. A lot of people say to me, Avalon is coming to their consciousness, and they don't know what it is, but they're feeling called. Will you tell us about Avalon? Is that still another, too sacred thing?
Lisa: We could just do the whole call, like that. It's all, too sacred to speak about. Just feel into it, and find it for yourself. (laughter) It's a truly amazing place, actually. It's mystical and it's mythical, but it's very much a real place too. It's an island in the middle of land. It can literally make itself an island, using all different kinds of weather tools, if that makes any sense, whatsoever. You could be sitting on top of The Tor, which is this beautiful, beautiful hill, with St. Michael's monument on top. Underneath it, lies the lay lines of St. Michael and Mary.
It's so powerful, it's just such a powerful place. It's a place where people pilgrimage to, you know? It's a magnet. For me, after that first time there, I was going back once a month, I was literally there. I was touching the land, I was immersed in this beautiful white spring, which is very masculine and it's just got this amazing, incredible black Madonna inside. That's where I've fully immersed, and took on my personal role as a witch.
I was like "Yeah, this is ... I owned it, I owned the title. I know what I have to do, in the world. I know that I have to do this work, and that it's not going to be easy. That, I'm going to always, have to be talking about the stuff that's not easy." Ii know, you experience that all the time. We're doing it on behalf of those that haven't got that voice yet, and I want them to find that voice, and that's why we do, what we do. It will call you, if that's what you're here to do.
If you go there, the kind of people you meet, will be like no other, because they are people from everywhere. They are just called there. You've got no choice. When you show up there, it's never a choice, that you've shown up there. It's because you've been pulled, your heart, your womb whatever that pulled you. Something has pulled you there. Everything you believed to be true, everything you've read, everything you hear, everything is true of that place. Yeah, I can't speak of it as a ...
Ultimately, it's a small little village in England. It's got beautiful little shops, and there are some lovely little places to visit. There's so much more than that, in that landscape, it's got so much. You can feel that Mary Magdalene's been there, you can feel the history, you can feel that your ancestors, our ancestors, our lineage is there. It's just incredible, just incredible.
Sarah: Yeah, when I was waking up, I experienced a lot of past life visions of Avalon. I don't know if people on the call have had theirs. I saw myself in Goddess circle, is where I was wearing a long white flowing gown, I had long, beautiful hair. Now, it's been bleached and dyed. But I distinctly remember, Goddess hair. I had a crown and flowers in it, and I was holding hands with my sisters. There was rolling green hills and white horses and the cliff crashed into the sea. For a long time, a year of my first part of my awakening, I would be taken back to this land, and whispered things in circle, that I would bring back here.
I thought it would stay like that forever, and also wanted it to stay like that forever. This is before meeting Collie, before having to ground my awakening, before realizing, "I was given the Dharma of destigmatizing the witch. I would have to defend her, every day of my life." That was my Avalon awakening. There's this amazing book by Lucy Cavendish, who's an Australian witch, I think. She wrote a book called The Lost Land. You can do a quiz, "Am I from Avalon? Am I from Atlantis?" I got 100 out of 100, for the Avalon section.
Lisa: Did you?
Sarah: Yeah. If you're from Avalon, you tend to lead women circles, you tend to be a woman speaker, you're super aligned with the moon, you're super aligned with the earth. You're very feminine. A lot of my friends who are awakening, have more of an Atlantis inside, which we need that too. They have a super truend on left brain, so I can download, and they can put it into media or they can make it acceptable to the masses. That can be limiting for me, technology and the left brain world. You obviously need both. They're very feminine energies of Avalon. A lot of women were called to Mist of Avalon books and the movie and ...
Lisa: Yeah, it's everything like that, and it's nothing like that, too. It's everything like that. Yeah, and I'm blessed that I get to visit quite often. It's definitely somewhere that can be visited in your dream space as well, it calls for that. It needs that ... You feel that, when you're there, that actually it's being dreamed into, all the time. It's just incredible, just incredible.
Sarah: Actually, we're probably going to lead a tour there together, in a year.
Lisa: Yes, we are.
Sarah: Yeah, we are going to. Back to the menstrual cycle, really quickly. We also got another reader who's just birthed a child and feeling out of sync with her body and her moon cycle. Wanting to reenter her body, fully again, and realign and re-rhythm with that. What would you say to someone like that?
Lisa: I don't know whether she's started bleeding again yet. If she hasn't, then just really feel into the moon phases, and then allow your body to align, where it needs to because that's why ... I'm very big on, it's not about leading with a particular moon phase, it's allowing your body to know where the moon is now, which we're waning moon. Feel into that energy, which is drawing you in, that's bringing you home. That, when we come into that dark moon, we can really allow ourselves to release and fully, be in that space.
Allow your body to do that with the moon, and then your natural body, your menstrual rhythms and your natural rhythms of your body will align itself to, where it needs to be. Yeah, that would be my main ... Be gentle, you've just birthed a baby, that's beautiful. You are more aligned with the rhythms than any of us, quite frankly. Hi five for that. Yeah, so slowly allow yourself to connect with the outside world, so that your inner world can catch up and find its own rhythm and flow, as you and baby need it.
Sarah: Right. I know this woman very well, and I can see that she might be trying to do too much because she really is a wonderful activist and justice seeker. She might, still need to just be going slow and re-resonate. I wanted to ... Before your parent's untimely death, you had the urge to call in a soulmate. That seems really guided to me, that you would call in family, before the deep, deep loss of your family, right?
Sarah: What was it like, when you knew it was time to call in a soulmate, and how did you do so?
Lisa: When you're doing the work of the feminine, it can take you on a bit of a journey. A bit of one, that's such an understatement. It can take you on a big, badass journey. I desperately felt that, in order for me to do the work so well and so whole-heartedly and from my heart, that I needed to have a strong masculine presence in my world. Previously, I'd been dating artist types, I love that hispterness. I love those hipster dudes who wear the little glasses. The arty types, I was totally into them. That went, not at all, well.
Learning from my mistakes, I made sure that I wipe the slate clean. I was, "Look, I need to get super clear. If I'm going to be doing this work on the scale that it needs to be done, I'm going to need to call in some pretty hefty masculine energy. It's going to have to be someone that can meet me where I am, that also can honor me like a Priestess. That's what I am, and that's what I need." I got super specific. I guess it was a little bit like cosmic ordering, but it was nothing like cosmic ordering.
I got a little bit witchy about it. I cast a spell. When I cast that spell, it wasn't for, "I want this dude." like I knew him or anything. I had no clue, who this man would be. I knew that he had to be somebody that could meet me where I was, who could call me on my shit, who could help me to grow, who could help support the feminine, whilst being super solid in his masculine."
These are some of the things that I wrote. These are some of the things that I wrote, and cast a circle with very specific ... In 1 moon cycle, I want to meet this guy. I need him to be in my world." I didn't know what was going to happen with my parents, but clearly she did. Here, I feel now that, that was another reason why he was to be called in at that time. I didn't know that. Sometimes, we really do have to let go and trust. All I knew was that, at the time, I was ready for this energy to come in. That's how I saw it, it was energy. I was calling in energy, I wasn't calling in a specific person. I've sent you this data, that I did put on there, that I would like him to be okay at guitar and have really good footwear.
He is the most incredible soul mate, and yes, he did come within that 1 moon cycle. He had really bad shoes, and he cannot play guitar. What he can do is, hold me. He can hold the feminine, he holds it so beautifully. He can call me out. He's a complete mirror to me. If I find something really shitty, really aggravating, it's a complete mirror of what is shitty and aggravating in me. That knowledge and that growth that we're doing together, and the conversations we have, are so deep and so frivolous, all at the same time. The sex is amazing because of that, our life is amazing because of that. It's super challenging, he adds a whole space to me. Everything I thought, who I was, as a grown-up woman in the world, was taken away from me. I had no parents.
Then, in a couple of weeks and months that followed it's like 2 aunties, 2 aunties and a dear friend, all taken. Literally, Kali Maa came in and swept everything, like our chemical change. Through it all, this massively strong masculine dude, holding the big masculine, but holding his own masculine. That is all I could personally, as for. Yeah, witchcraft.
Sarah: You were called into deep healing, and you're at a level where you've healed, and now can heal others. You continue to heal. As you continue to heal, you heal more and more, on a deeper level. Why is it ... How can the feminine, how is the feminine, when she heals, how does she end up healing others? How does your work serve, and how do you see it serve?
Sarah: I got you right at the buzzer.
Lisa: I think the feminine is the ... She is the healer. Everything that we can do for ourselves. The minute we start to take back, stop serving outside world actually, for little bit. Like I was saying earlier, that second part of our menstrual cycle, it's the part of us, that we're missing. It's the bit that we're not doing for ourselves because the second half of our menstrual cycle calls us in, it calls us in, and it's the feminine. It's the bit that we are completely ignoring in our menstrual cycle. It's a bit we're completely ignoring in society and in life, you know?
When we do the work for ourselves, ultimately that's going to heal others because when we give ourselves that permission slip to rest. It simply can be that, just resting, is enough to start this healing process. Slowing down, being able to see that actually, keeping on striving and thriving in a way that masculine society is telling us we should is serving absolutely nobody. Actually what will serve us is, if we slow down, if we start to come inwards, if we start to pay attention to what our body is telling us. If we start to listen. We can only listen, if we slow down.
Slowing down, and allowing the healing to occur. Stop trying to do things, in business, in life, in relationship. Stop trying to make things happen. We have an element of our cycle that's totally available for us to use and access, to do that. Actually, just slow down and allow for the healing to happen because we're so clever. Women are so clever, we don't even know what we are capable of, when we slow down. That for me, is the biggest healing that anyone can do. Listen, and then let your body speak to you, and listen to what she needs. That's how I do my movement practices, it's how I do life, it's how I run my business.
That then, is able to allow me to serve because I've given myself a permission slip to live my life this way, to live my life in the feminine way of working. I'm totally She led. I allow myself to do that, so by doing that, then others can see, "Do you know what? The world doesn't end, if I don't make tea tonight. It doesn't end if I say, do you know what? I'm going to ask someone else to help me. I need help. We can ask for help, and that's an okay thing to do as well." Yeah, I'm sorry. I can't even wrap that up in a pretty bow. That's just like a ... Yeah.
Sarah: No, you're talking about the art of receiving, and it's so beautiful. Receiving ourselves, and wisdom and others wisdom and help and it's just beautiful. The Goddess' voice and God's voice and all of it, and your true self. I think that was a beautiful bow. I don't like perfect bows, I like them messy. I'm going to actually let Shakti say hi to you, as we let you go.
Laura: Oh yeah, yes I'm here.
Lisa: Hey sister.
Laura: Hi. Do you know what I'm doing right now, is just totally stalking Lisa, online. Lisa, I'm stalking you, I just found your Amazon Code Red book. I'm adding it to my cart.
Lisa: Oh, bless your heart, bless your heart. Good, I actively encourage you. You should all go on Amazon, and check out Code Red.
Laura: There we go.
Lisa: I love my stalkers.
Sarah: You did not plan that yeah, thank you. I just wanted to have the two witches pass in the night.
Laura: Yeah. Hello Lisa, it's much, much love to you, sister. Thank you so much for your stories and for your shares. This has been a total pleasure for me, to sit and listen to this conversation. Thank you for everything you do. I can't wait to meet you in the flesh, one day. I feel like I know you already.
Lisa: Even better, I'd love that. Thank you so much for everything that you both do, in terms of allowing me to crash your call today, actually. 3 witches on the first call. It's a total honor, thank you, thank you very much.
Sarah: Thank you for your work, Lisa, and your wisdom. I know it's the middle of the night there, so I hope you sleep well and know how much we love you.
Lisa: Thank you so much. I cannot wait to listen to yours, first thing tomorrow. Blessed be to everyone, so much love.
Laura: Blessed be.
LAURA ANNE BLAKEMAN (aka SHAKTI SUNFIRE)
ABOUT SHAKTI: An internationally recognized movement guide and an advocate of the Earth, Shakti Sunfire blends her deep love of conscious dance, classical Tantra, yoga, mythology, ecology, and the study of many nature-based traditions into inspiring thematic explorations of Soul. A true rolling stone, Shakti teaches workshops, leads retreats, and performs all over the world. A passionate writer, Shakti dives deep into human experience, exposing universal connection and poignant synchronicity through mytho-poetic narrative. She has deepened her knowledge and delighted in the ancient art of Soul Astrology with Astrologer and Soul Guide, Sheila Belanger, and has traversed the river of Soul with visionary Bill Plotkin - founder of the Animas Valley Institute. She is an initiate on the Priestess Path of Awakening Avalon with Holly Hamilton. All of whom are influences and teachers that she continues to work with to this day. www.therhythmway.com
Laura Anne Blakeman aka Shakti Sunfire. 7.7.15
Sarah: Okay, oh my goodness. Now we have Laura Anne Blakeman, who also works with the sacred feminine under the name Shakti Sunfire. You're this feminine leader an underworld guide, a movement teacher, a yoga teacher, a woman's wisdom sharer, a circle gatherer, and a teacher, and a beautiful, beautiful mythopoetic writer. Also, a dear friend of mine. Do you want to say, how we know each other?
Laura: Yeah, sure. I'll tell my side. You tell the best stories, quite a bit, on your end.
Sarah: No one wantsto hear me tell that story anymore.
Laura: Yeah, Sarah and I met in Hawaii. I had the beautiful pleasure of meeting Sarah. She stuck out of my mind right away, in the field, she was so present. I was co-producing my first ever, women's gathering. I just loved the name because it's so long and ridiculous. It was called, the Pulse of the Radiant Feminine Heart. It's beautiful and flowery and everything.
Yeah, I was co-producing that event with another sister of ours, Marni Scarloff, who's this really powerful yoga teacher on the east coast, in D.C. Then we had another facilitator there, Marla Leigh, who was offering drumming, women's circle drumming. They were doing drumming and belly dancing and hoop dance, and exploring the elements, and just luxuriating each other's company on the big island of Hawaii. What was that? 5 years ago, I want to say, maybe ...
Sarah: 4 years.
Laura: 4 years? Okay. Yeah, 4 years. Sarah came, actually ...
Sarah: Several identities, several identities ago.
Laura: Yes, right. Yeah, there we go, for both of us. Sarah just totally, took the leap. I found out later, "Where did all these people come from? I don't even know who's here and how the hell they got here." As it turns out, many of them had just perused the Kalani website, which was the retreat center that we were hosting. Liked the concept, liked the name, and so just took that leap of faith and jumped right into the course.
There was Sarah, just wild as ever, just totally beautiful. I'll never forget on the last night, we had a skill share, a talent show type, classic way of playing and sharing. It was like high school, but years later. Sarah read a piece that she had written. We had already connected at that point, a number of times, just like kindred spirit style. I remember the power of her words and the ability that she has, that she still holds so strong, as one of her deepest powers. To speak in a way that just passes any kind of barrier, and hits you right in the tender region of the heart. She did that for me, with her writing.
Yeah, we've stayed in touch, ever since. There was a lot of witty jokes and inappropriate comments, all sorts of stuff happening as well, in the background, that worked. Yeah, that's my version of the story.
Sarah: Oh my god. I was crushing on you, so hard. You were so, in your body, and I was just coming through a Kundalini awakening, so I was 7-feet off the ground, at all times. Deeply ungrounded and unrooted. Shakti was like this jungle animal and she was so, in her body. I was still disconnected from mine and the earth itself, and I had been, for so long, as many of us were. I was a wounded feminine. She hooped on the last night. I really wasn't there for the hooping, so I was ... That's when I would run and go to the hot tub, when there was hoopla. I remember, it was Sinéad O'Connor song. God, what was it? It was ...
Laura: The Healing Room.
Sarah: You guys, all have to listen to that. I'll post in the group, but it's called The Healing Room. It's about coming home to yourself, and feeling, not alone with yourself. She was hooping, but making this direct eye contact with me, and it'd be like, if I was at a Pearl Jam concert and Eddie Vedder looking at me, while he was singing. I was like, "I'm special,, she sees me." I'm laughing now, but the validation of being seen was so intense for me. Like, "Oh my God."
Really, the excitement of waking up was ... I was running across fields with Paulo Coelho quotes to give to her, and she would just receive me. Looking back, as I look back and felt some embarrassment about being a 30-year old woman feeling like a child. Now I see, that it was so innocent and beautiful. What Shakti did for me, and I've told this, is just to see a woman as a human woman, as a Goddess, marrying that divinity and doing something, where she wasn't at her desk, she wasn't at a 9 to 5.
Talking about stuff that I had been scared of, being called crazy for. Giving me permission to speak from the heart and not the head, speak from the soul. Encouraging my work, which at the time, only 100 people read it, at the time. It was deep, dark stuff. To have somebody go, "Yes, keep going," is just vital on the path.
Laura: Yeah, on my end of that story, I was completely terrified, that was the first retreat I had ever led. I was just, totally taken in awe and absolute trembling fear, of the quality of the women that showed up on that day. Actually, another piece that I think is nicely laced in here is that, the whole time, I'm totally trembling. I'm figuring out, what I'm doing in the moment. It was the first time I had ever looked at elements. It was the first time I'd ever took that big leap. It was a big leap on many ways, financially and in my life, taking that kind of time out, to envision something so radical, that women would travel all over the world, to come together for this offering.
To feel like I was facilitating that, in any way. It just felt like, the most terrifying edge for me, at the time. That was just reinforced, over and over, as I got to know the women that had joined me there. There was an older woman in our group, Sarah, and I don't know if you remember her name. She was definitely evolved ... She was traveling around, she had a husband.
Laura: She at the time, on the last day, came up to me and gave me a vial of water, from the well at Glastonbury. She said ...
Sarah: Which is Avalon.
Laura: Which is Avalon. She said something along the lines of, "This belongs to you." I'd heard of Avalon, I'd read, "The Mists of Avalon," years ago. I had heard of Glastonbury well there. It was the first time that I felt mirrored. That mirroring is so important, it's just like what you were saying there, Sarah. For somebody to feel on that level, and then to affirm it for you and say "Hey, yes you do belong here. Yes, you do have something of value. Yes, you can be self-referential. You don't need an Avalon Training course to really be somehow, connected to that lineage."
I still have that vial, I still have that vial of water. I've thought about it, a lot since because I have indeed, since then, especially in the last 2 years, was very dedicated to connecting with that lineage and that legend. A lot happened at that event, when we met, Sarah, as usual.
Sarah: Yeah, just like Lisa was talking about. When you don't have a choice, I never had a choice about going there. You and I have a deeply sacred contract, we wouldn't be ... I don't think that we would be doing the work in the world, that we're doing, had we not fused together. I just, for some reason don't. Do you know what I mean?
Laura: I do, I believe it.
Sarah: Yeah, and I know I wouldn't, if I hadn't met you. I wouldn't have believed it was possible. The partnership is such a beautiful partnership. The sisterhood that our relationship teaches, it's a microcosm of the macrocosm. The way you keep me big ... I had to learn to trust you because I'd been so fucked over and had fucked over, so many women.
I had to learn, when you said you loved me, you meant it. When you said, you trusted me, you meant it. I would test you on it because I was so traumatized by my relationship with women and the witch-hunting that went on between us. The jealousy and the "Yeah, we're friends. Here comes a guy, you're road meat," that sort of stuff. Especially the work we do in the feminine. You and me get lumped in together, a lot.
I wrote this post recently, and it was about spirituality and money, and really trying to get to the authentic answer on spirituality, & money, which we'll get into. Every other comment was like, "You and Shakti." I was like, "We're really connected in people's minds" ... I'm a twin, so I come with this deep wound of constantly being compared to someone else. For some reason, the jealousy doesn't come up. If there's jealousy, it's inspiration, but it actually doesn't ... Now that I say it doesn't, it will eventually. Because we know how that works. It hasn't come up because of the support.
You and I could have ... If we were old paradigm asleep, we would have clawed each other's eyes out by now, with our audiences overlap. Do you know what I mean? That reminds me, 4 years later, Shakti and I, we meet in Hawaii, then we're co-teaching a women's summit at Joshua Tree. I get a text from the guy I was dating at the time. Do you remember that text? He said, "Have you and Shakti killed each other yet?" That is the assumption that "Oh, you're going to put all those girls together, and you and Shakti are in a room." He was thinking like the Real World. We were going to be fighting and screaming and pulling each other's hair out. That's the assumption.
Laura: It's an assumption, but it's also an assumption that's built on the sick and twisted, distorted understanding of the feminine, over the last couple of thousand or longer, years, 4000 years. Also, the inbred female competition that is just vicious, it's just vicious. It's a product of again, a very ingrained scarcity model, that we're not enough, there's not enough. Our safety depends on getting our share, and keeping it, and warding others away from it."
I feel like yeah, it's an assumption, and it's a tawdry or cheap, portrayal of adolescent women, just being Kittens Got Claws kind of thing. Scratching each other's eyes out over, usually a man or some kind of social status. Yeah, we have a lot that we are wading against, there's a lot that we are subverting, hopefully, through this kind of work, in terms of the cultural atmosphere and an understanding about women. What is possible, when we come together, when we come together in our wholeness. Yeah, just being really aware of ways in which we have had this deep, subtle messages. I always say, "We're born, consumed in a war that's been going on, way longer, way before us. Hopefully, not too much longer, after us." We'll see.
Sarah: Right. I remember, when we were doing our first physical gathering. I couldn't really figure out, why we were doing it. That's how these covens work is, you say 'yes' because your soul says 'yes,' but your mind hasn't quite figured it out. I just knew, this is something I was supposed to do. Everyone's like, "What exactly is it?" I'm like, "We'll find out."
I see now, the importance of us coming together like that. The feminine coming together ... I don't know if you've read the Jean Shinoda Bolen, about the power of women circles. You're the one that suggested it to me, I haven't read it. I'm asking you if she talks about that in there because of how healing those times are. Even with the Wild Woman Gathering, the first one. I remember, there was a lot of tension, when the women started showing up and looking each other down and choosing rooms, The cliques starts forming. By the end of it, it was positively a feminine revolution, a sisterhood.
Laura: Yeah, it's in there. One of the basic human needs that we all have, man or woman is, a sense of tribal belonging. When new tribes come together or new relationships are formed, our number 1 concern is, determining where we land, in the social strata. Unfortunately, that is hardwired into our system, into our evolutionary biology, how we've ended up today. If we were exiled from our social group, our tribe, back in the day, that meant certain death, especially as a woman that would likely have small children.
However, I do believe that there's another layer that can come in, and it's officially that your center of gravity, whatever you're looking to belong to, can widen in concentric circles. As you grow or as you evolve or as we do this work and as we dive into the depth, there's a way of realizing that social belonging is actually a very small circle, to belong to. That there are larger truths, like what happens in circle with women, when we level the playing field of the social strata. We come and bear our hearts and bear our burdens and our fears, and show the beauty of the depths of our emotion. We realize that "Oh hey, we belong to a much larger story, that is very collective an very shared. We belong to something that we could call Love."
Then we can widen outside of that and say, "Oh, we belong to this earth, which means that, we belong in our bodies. Which means, we have a responsibility to steward this place." We realize then, the little social strata or the little nitpicky things or little fear-based ways of assuring that, we have some kind of adult popularity contest. That's a lot of what happens out there, based on fear. It's based on fear, same with jealousy, it's based on fear of not belonging. It's because the aperture of what we belong to, in my view, is too small. It keeps us down, it keeps us actually, pretending to be something that we're not. It keeps us in the reflex, which is about jealousy or female competition.
"There's not enough to go around." That's another way to describe that. "I have to secure my place in the social state which means, you can't share it with me." I feel like, that apprenticeship to the circle and the apprenticeship to the feminine, as we're speaking of it, is a way of apprenticing again, to wholeness and to belonging in a much deeper, more connected way that is, shedding some of the cultural paradigm.
Sarah: Would you say that there's a reflection of that shedding, going on openly, in the Goddess culture, that we're in right now? I'll just guide you there. Do you know what I'm getting at?
Laura: Yeah. Yes, and I would like you to guide me a little more, before I go off on a massive tangent because that's very broad.
Sarah: Let me get my popcorn.
Laura: Yeah, exactly. Put your feet up.
Sarah: Actually, last time I ate popcorn with you, I cracked a tooth, so I won't be doing that. There was a post recently on Facebook, about a woman saying, she was firehosing, which I don't approve of that term. But she was calling women out on, Patriarchy Wearing a Goddess Dress. Calling themselves Goddess and Priestess, yet having these deeply patriarchal structures of finance-making and businesses. She was saying, "You can't just put some face paint on and wear a Feather headdress, and call yourself a Priestess." It stirred the pot, man.
I have so many different reactions, which means I'm super freaking grateful because ... I was just talking to Lisa. I love controversy because it makes us talk and it makes us think and it makes us figure out, where we stand, on something. Look at the wounds it touches or the buttons it pushes, in ourselves. Certainly for me, it's actually how the coven conversations were born. She also says, "Just because you have a fancy website and a fancy photo shoot, doesn't make you a real Priestess. Most of them, don't even need names."
It was just divisive, divisive post. I just want to know, what it brought up, for you?
Laura: Thank you. Yeah, this is a big thing that's up for me right now, and I'll try to get through it, in a way that makes sense and is clear because there's a lot here. There's a lot of just not intellectual, there's a lot ... We're talking some really deep time threads that are coming through, with that post. I think that one of the first things that I'll say about it, just based on what I just said is that, the post itself was ... Okay, the point that this woman was making was, very valid, for a number of reasons. In that, we are all born into a structure, a economy, a way of being. A way of understanding ourselves, a way of seeking social positioning and recognition, that is dysfunctional. It's totally dysfunctional.
I know that because we can look at the facts, it's killing the planet. More people are unhappy here, than they are happy. People are really closeting, cloistering themselves, severing parts of themselves, letting themselves be severed, living secret lives, disconnected from the earth. This is the cultural environment, it sounds very harsh, but it's actually very, very true. It's the cultural environment that we live in, here in the modern world. There's a massive disconnect.
MANY OF US IN THE FEMININE MOVEMENT OR THE CURRENT INCARNATION, OF THE RISING FEMININE, WHATEVER YOU WANT TO CALL IT, ARE ACTIVELY SPEAKING TO SOME OF THOSE THINGS. WE'RE TALKING ABOUT RECONNECTING WITH SYSTEMS OF THE EARTH, WE'RE TALKING ABOUT RECONNECTING WITH OUR BODIES AND OUR MENSTRUAL CYCLES. WE'RE TALKING ABOUT THE POWER OF RITUAL AND CEREMONY. WE'RE TALKING ABOUT ERADICATING HIERARCHY AND PATRIARCHY. WE'RE TALKING ABOUT BING MORE CARING FOR OUR LOCAL COMMUNITIES, AND OTHERWISE.
There's a lot of that, that creates that kind of talk. That's very true and very powerful intention, that is being held by many, many, many people today. That said, so what she said, she was on point ... Yeah, what she said was, "Watch it." That's how I interpreted it is, "Watch it." There's different ways that we don't even realize, a need to learn. There are ways that the system itself, even working within it, you have to pick and choose your battles. Not every single step that you take, will be in integrity with the truth that you're holding in your heart. The vision that you have, for what's possible.
That's not meant to be a cop out, that's meant to be, just a way of being aware of, working within a paradigm that doesn't work. Let me say this anther way. The way that I interpreted her post was an attack on somebody's integrity. "You say one thing, and yet it's patriarchy wearing a goddess costume." That's a deep attack on integrity. "You can't just wear a feathered headdress and buy some sage, and call yourself a priestess."
Where her post went awry is that, it was a finger pointing post, it was coming from a place of separation. "You're doing this, I'm not." That right there ... Again, it's funny because I could say that's patriarchy wearing a goddess costume right there because the feminine is about both and. Can we be aware of holding this incredibly relevant, powerful, true, vision, one that we can feel in our bones, in our blood, while taking careful step after careful step, to bring this message to the world, inside of, let's just say an economic system, that isn't necessarily healthy. A way of marketing that is more interested in, as many numbers as you can get, as it is quality of offering.
Let me circle back around. Last thing I'll say about this because I could talk forever about it. I'm hoping it makes sense. Many of you maybe haven't read that original post, so I don't want to go too deep. I want to speak to the authenticity piece because that's a word that we hear all the time, that's definitely a buzz word. I do feel that, if everyone were to feel right now, inside, just take a moment, we can feel what authenticity and integrity feel like. We have a sense of that, it's inborn.
The way that I look at authenticity, outside of the buzz word of being authentic is that, our ... When we are in integrity, when we are in our authenticity, we are living our core values. We are actually very clear about, what those core values are. We are living in such a way that, those same core values are the ... We can think of that as soil, that we are drawing nutrients from, that create the action on the external.
It's just like Lisa was talking about, that cycle of the menstrual cycle of the moon phase, that's about deep reflection. That in our world, we don't give ourselves time, we're not taught or modeled, how to be in deep reflection and turn towards the dark, to get a real understanding of who we are, what we're here to do, on the deepest level possible. That doesn't have anything to do with social strata, popularity, Facebook likes or Instagram posts. It has everything to do with our soul.
We don't take the time to ground so deeply into that rich soil, that it never leaves our side, when we move into the world, with action. I think it's something that we all really need to careful of. Now, there's a deep longing in the human being, for the spiritual dimension, to come forward. For the feminine to come forward, which is to me, the deep imagination and the dream time and the circular ways of thinking and connecting into our soul, and into our legend, that we're living into the world.
Because we're still operating very much, in a knee-jerk way, without realizing it, desiring first and foremost, external approval. Then we create a kind of a cultural atmosphere, where words like Goddess, Priestess, authenticity, integrity, earth-based wisdom. Those kind of buzz words are very much common place. I think sometimes, we don't know how they deeply relate to our own personal and embodied experience. That's the shadow of the feminine moon. There's always a shadow, and it's what we're not aware of. It's not necessarily, what we dislike about ourselves and try to hide. It's like, what we're not aware of, which can be a good thing or a bad thing that we've sequestered away.
Very long-winded answer, but I'm hoping some things get surged here. My point being, we're not here to point fingers at each other, that's not going to help. It's not going to help to say, "I've figured it out, I'm living in integrity. I deserve to say, I'm a priestess or a goddess, and you don't because of your marketing strategy or X, Y or Z." We don't know somebody else's very deep, very personal, very intimate experience with their core values, that guide their movement.
We also have to be very, very compassionate that, we are going to make this step on the path because there is no path. We are doing the best that we can. Hopefully, if this is something that's a burning vision for you, to live into the world, whatever your deep truth is, your deepest authenticity, your soul vision. Hopefully, that can continue to inform the necessities of the moment.
Maybe sometimes, it is a marketing plan.
I think more often than not, we have to be careful of falling into the trap of looking to belong or looking to be externally approved of. Having that dictate our actions, instead of our vision or our values, which likely will meet a lot of resistance from other women and from men, from everyone. It's dangerous to the paradigm, that's what we're facing. You opened a can of worms there, Sarah. Sorry, I'm still talking. I'm going to stop.
Sarah: That's what I'm trying to do, here. Yeah, it was one response, a beautiful response by a woman who's actually going to speak on number 608 of these calls. Her name is Sara Sophia Eisenman, who talks about channeling our rage and ageing gracefully, and many other things about the Goddess. She really was like, "You're silencing women, you're shaming and silencing them." She really had that reaction.
What it did for me is, always because I'm so crazy sensitive. I don't know if there's such a thing, but I really looked at where it hit me. What parts it hit me, and what parts it itched. If it went right over my head like air or water, there was nothing there. There was something for everybody, in that post. I have tried to walk away from this path, so many times, you've seen me try. I'm not allowed, and I'd die, if I don't do this. I don't know if anyone's seen Splash, but it's like when you take the mermaid out of water and you put her in the bathtub, and she starts to die. When you take me out of the deep feminine and try to normalize me, I die.
This is my only job here, to serve the Goddess and serve others. I was pretty angry actually. I just had a 3-hour Shaman appointment, and it brought up so much rage because I've been pleasing for so long. I was so angry after this appointment because it was detoxifying me. I've been bending over backwards, to please and say the right thing, and I was really mad. I can't, not do this work, and I've been doing this work for years. It was not cool, when I started doing it, I'll tell you that. It was freaky, people laughed at me, people laughed at the witch thing. I have died for this work, again, and a fucking gain. I was pretty mad, so that's where I'm going to leave that.
Laura: Sarah, I'm just going to reflect back for a second because you just really illuminated in a very, hopefully grounded way, for everyone listening exactly what I'm speaking to, here. That is that, your soul, your deepest authentic truth is that, this work is like water to you. You need it, you need to drink from it, you need to offer it. You're clear about that. When Sera's post hit you, there was a moment of ... These are my words and you can let me know, whether or not this is true, a little bit of a shutdown happened. Perhaps, some fear happened around, your work not being socially acceptable in that moment. That, somebody was looking to shame you and shut you up. Not you directly, but just the way that it hit you, and the space that it hit you in.
I think that your reflection on wanting to please people, wanting everybody to understand what you're doing, wanting everyone to be okay with what you're doing. This is something that every single person, when they really come into their deep truth and into their work, that only they can do in the world. There has to be a shedding of that layer. It doesn't ever go away. Certain things are going to come up, and they're going to make you feel for a second, "Holy shit, I need to reflect on what I'm doing, again. Is this work ... Can I still proceed in this work, even if that person firehoses me, everyday that I'm out there?"
At a certain point, you had to say yes to that. That was another moment, where you chose your core value system and your soul work, over social acceptance, in that small microcosmic case. Does that make sense? Am I interpreting this correctly?
Sarah: Yeah, no. I just want to point out to the listeners, even if you guys weren't all on the call, which there's so many. I'm overwhelmed with, how many people showed up tonight, that this is how this girl talks to me, all all the time. This is why I wanted to share this. She calls me on my shit, she keeps me big, she doesn't let me just, blame the other person. But rage for me, is like, I'm in a healthy place with rage because it was deep sadness for a long time, for me, and deep shame.
It's not that I don't fiercely love the person who posted this still. But the sacrifices I've made, for this path, by being dumped, by being ostracized, by family members not talking to me because it's not the norm. I don't have a choice. You're right, she made me look once again because we stop and look at this work, all the time. Like Lisa was talking about, our internal compass. "Am I going the right way?" I fall off the path and I get back on, and you learn just as much in that gutter, as you do on the path.
Yeah, there isn't a path. We are all at the frontier of, a shift of a paradigm. We're doing the best we fucking can. I wanted from that, I think, a little more compassion like I understand that, we are all doing the best we can. Let's move on from that post. If you haven't read it, it might be a little confusing. I hope that we're making the point that, somebody brought up authenticity in Goddessland, basically.
Laura: No, that's it, that's it. It's relevant for all of us, even if you're not doing active work in the "Movement." You're obviously still, very much ... We're all invested in living from a place of soul, from our core values. That to me, is the point, that's the point. Nobody can tell, nobody can tell you, nobody has the power to tell you, whether or not you're living in integrity. You, only have the power to tell you that. If something outside of you, triggers something and you feel shame or you feel shut up or you feel shutdown, that's a great opportunity to look at it and say, "Have I in some way, violated my own vows?" Bless the teacher that comes in that form, whether or not it's directed at you. Bless them.
Also, let's hold big, big compassion, let's not keep each other small. That time is done.
Sarah: We could really have done a 5-hour summit on that post. Tonight is about the witch, and there's a couple of juicy things I want to get into because of course, we have 20 minutes left. You had a broom closet, coming out, sort of, didn't you?
Laura: I did.
Sarah: Do you want to talk about that or? I think it's cool to know that you had one. Do you know what I mean?
Laura: No, but I'm glad that you think it's cool. I think everybody has one, right?
Sarah: Yeah, I want to know about yours.
Laura: Okay. I'm going to ask you, which one because I feel like there's been different outings. Are the talking about the one that's happened, just in the last couple of years? Should I just run through all of them.
Sarah: We had a fight about the word, which one, a sister fight. A gorgeous juicy sex fight, almost. What was that about?
Laura: Okay yeah, no, we can go there. Okay, let's see. Something around the word, witch ... Okay, let me just differentiate for a second that, what I ... One of the tasks that I feel like I am carrying right now, it has to do a lot with my own deep truths. My soul work, you could say, is to build bridges between ... It's 2-fold, to build bridges and to create a sacred scaffolding, and also to really ground and make accessible, certain esoteric teachings for the world. Esoteric meaning, not well-known, maybe exiled or shunned. That's really, what we talk about a lot, in these courses. It's like, "Oh, the exile imagination or the exile of body. The wild woman."
All of these pieces, that in our current culture, have been ostracized, kept down or completely eradicated because of the danger, which means the power, that they hold. For years, I was ... Yeah, I've always been really interested in doing this kind of work. The word ... I have a hard time sometimes, with language because of the ego's way of grasping something and creating some kind of persona or identity, around a buzz word. Goddess being one of them or priestess being one of them or witch being another. Where all of a sudden, our ego gets to relax, inside of a larger than life persona, which can be in some ways, a way of bypassing really deep transformational, systemic shift material. Which would be like, when the rubber hits the road. Are you really living this stuff or is that just a really cool word?
Witch ... When Sarah and I first started working together, I've always really loved and honored and gotten really excited about her particular mission, which is to destigmatize that word. It's also, in some ways, challenged me because as a word, I've been ... As a word with a lot of load, I've been concerned that, it would ostracize certain individuals, certain communities, certain women that really need to hear these teachings. It wasn't necessarily personal, as it more was ... I was really wondering, how I could ... I will say, it's not totally personal. Let me see if I can get really down to the shit right now.
There's a part of me that's concerned that I, in that moment, Sarah, when you and I went into it, about ... I think it was around a book, saying something around calling a book, something about Witch, The Returning Witch or something. Anyway, I was worried about exile, myself. About losing an audience, about being discredited with the buzz word, eclipsing the deep and profound teaching that I believe, everyone needs to hear.
In a sense, it was in that moment, I was like,"Why would we make our work harder, for ourselves?" What I recognize now, years later is that, one of the things that I hadn't developed, that I've learned a lot from Sarah and I've learned a lot through my own nature-based work is, I hadn't yet developed the power or the comfort to be dangerous, to be very confrontational. Dangerous in the sense of, destabilizing, for an individual or a system or a paradigm. A lot of my work with the dark feminine, over the last couple of years, has been to hone my skill at being fierce, when that needs to happen. When it would wake something up or take something down, it no longer served.
Words have a lot of power to them. Lately, there has been a little bit more of that deep understanding, archetypally of, the power that's held in words, that have been exiled. How would we use them? It might be stabilized, in just the right way, so that a crack can appear and something can penetrate, maybe a little bit deeper inside or a teaching or a suggestion. Then, getting everybody to like you or to understand you, is not my work. It's really not my work. My work is to really, shift culture.
With that, I still believe that there is right stewardship, time and place and context, hopefully some deep description. What do I mean, when I say witch? That needs to happen because that tendency to just latch on to maybe, the Hollywood idea of what that means, without going into the depths of it. Am I getting somewhere, here?
Sarah: Yeah, my favorite times or parts of you are, when you get vulnerable. That fear of exilement is the wound that ... "Why are we so passionate about this work, Shakti? Because it's our wounds, it's our deep exilement wounds." My exile wound, Lisa's, yours, is the wound of the feminine, the wound of Lilith, leaving the garden, licking her wounds because she refused to lie under patriarchy, lie under man. That wound, I've carried it for lifetimes, and I'm awake to heal it, in this one.
Somebody asked me, "What wound is going to come up for you, talking about wounds for 13 nights?" I was like, "My exilement wound, to come into union with this community, will de-isolate me." That's what I'm praying, it de-isolates the women on this call. 90% of them wrote me and said, "I'm so alone, I need this." We're different, because we're powerful, because we're dangerous. Whatever it is, that makes me live alone in the woods, again and again, in this lifetime and in all my previous lifetimes. My fear of scaring people, of them not understanding me, and sentencing me to death, of being afraid of me. Not wanting me around their husbands.
The witch always speaks for the elephant in the room, "for saying the truth, God for fucking bid." I've been in trouble for that, since I could open my mouth.
Laura: Yeah, well good. It's definitely is that, for me. I will also say that, looking back and ... That's one example of many. I think we all have those, where there's moments, like a crossroad moment, where we're being challenged to grow, we're being challenged to deepen. Again, my shirking away from using that word in that particular context, when it was actually, really applicable. Pushing back on you, in that moment, was actually me, violating my core values. I was doing that, for fear of being exiled from a very sick and twisted culture.
.. At a certain point in our lives, developmentally speaking, we all need to experience an exile, to really know what we're about. We have to step away from the world that we've created or the world that we've belonged to, for so long because we don't know how the world that we belong to, is really deeply affecting or contributing to our ability or inability to really flower.
Exile, as you know Sarah, that's been a big theme for me, over the last 2 years is, physically enacting that through a vision glass and working in the underworld, where nobody can go, but you. Nobody can go there with you, which is the realm of the mystic, it's the realm of the soul, it's the realm of the dark, it's the realm of the feminine. It's the dark side of the moon, where we sit and stew and listen and listen. "What is it, that we're here to do?"
Yeah, it's interesting that that's ... We're just circling back around because I realize ...That's why we need to be compassionate. Sarah's still, really compassionate with me. She's not saying, "What an idiot? You didn't use the word witch, and now you are. You're such a hypocrite." That's not at all, the way that she's speaking to me. Sarah, I really appreciate that.
Sarah: No, I was so scared.
Laura: That's another example, is like "How do we support each other?" There's times when I call you on your shit, and it's out of this place of love because we all need to be doing our deep work, we all need it.
Sarah: That was me in fear being like, "Shakti, will you join me in using this word because if you don't use it, we're screwed." You were a big heroine of mine, and are. Every time you talk, I'm like "Wow, she just learned ... In the last 2 days since we talked, she just learned so much more." I really look up to you, and I try not to have ... I look at you and I'm ... When I was scared, you weren't going to use it, my abandonment wounds were so high. I remember the hysteria of that call, of me being "Don't abandon me in this. I'm the freak, alone with this."
First of all, when you came around, what it done for the feminine, us taking that stand. Women taking that stand and using that word. Having done their research, with their deep belief and continuing to uncover it for themselves, respectfully and carefully. Not shoving it in people's faces but holding it. We're receivers. People knock on my door, about that word, I don't knock on their door about it. You know what I mean? I sit in my corner, and they come to me and say, "I think I am." I say, "Yes, you are. It's okay, let's look at it together." Then, they walk through a door and they discover endless treasures about themselves. I don't push that on them because that's scary, for people.
I recognize that fear because I still have it, to say it. Of course, I recognize that fear. Every time I say it to a new person, I'm like, "What's their reaction going to be?" It's scary.
Laura: Yeah. It is scary, and again, it's not ... Our work is not validated, externally. The second we realize that, the deeper and more effective, we can work, in the world. There is no external validation that we seek. Another thing that I would look back around, if anyone is really feeling, to call themselves a witch or to speak about that or use that word, is regardless of other people's reaction to it. Whether that reaction be, "What are they going to think of me, I'm exiled. Or Oh my Goodness, you're such a badass." Neither one of those things, in my world view, really hold, in the face of the question, "Is living my wisdom to the world, something that I am deeply called to do? If so, can I stand in that, regardless of anybody else's response, regardless of whether or not, it makes myself think, I'm cool or not?" Really, just is that, there's something pure about the knowing of it. Does that make sense?
Sarah: Yeah, 100%. Validations come up, a lot for me because at a certain point, I wish we had forever to talk, but at a certain point, when you hit a level of being publicly known. The way that I am and you are. There was a certain point where a lot of that post that we were talking about in the first half of the call, it still comes up, but I finally ... You witnessed this. I had to crack through such an ego. The validation need had become like a cocaine addict, the more you get, the less high you get. Then you're needing more, you're just snorting it, and you're like, "I need more." It was never going to fulfill me.
I could have been on Oprah, and been like "Okay, well I'm not the President of the United States now, so it's never going to fucking end for me." Finally, I stopped, I did the ... What Lisa was talking about, I stopped. Dead in my fucking tracks and was like, "What's going on here? Why aren't you enough, for yourself?" Stopping and then taking inventory on, who I was? What my values were, to the planet? How I healed myself? Then, given back to the people I love, how I healed my relationships? Everything, and it was like, "I'm enough, I'm a beloved child of Goddess, and I'm doing my best. I'm enough, and I will always be enough, and I will always have enough, end of fucking story." That changed everything for me. People loving me or hating me, that had to go because that was going to be an endless, bipolar epic ride of ups and downs.
Laura: Yeah, and I just love you, for being in the depths of it and just ... Yeah, you're such a unique, beautiful individual, for really being able to share that vulnerability with me and with others in your world, as you've gone through that. I also, deeply relate to that myself. I spent 10 years, building my own empire, in many ways. I say that with a deep sense of gratitude and a cosmic chuckle, and a big picture perspective and shame, for having violated all those years, necessarily so. Maybe it was one of my wounds or I needed that much external validation, that's still, a lot of times, there.
I believe, we all do because that's really, what we're fed. That we're not successful, until it looks like this. We don't really know, we're not able to self-reference. The last thing I'll say is that, this work about witch, about the feminine, about the Goddess, is about sovereignty. Sovereignty, not meaning, "I need no one." Sovereignty in the sense of, the original word, the word virgin was used, which is whole unto herself. Can we be self-referential? Can we be self-referential about, what we're here to do? About the traditions that we make? About how we dress? About how we shave our pubic hair, or don't? Can we be self-referential?" That is what the wild woman is about, that is what this work is about, is coming home to our sovereignty.
It's the scariest thing ever. It really is because it makes you one with you. It forces you to go against safety, social belonging.
Sarah: Your work and your animus work, and your underworld guide work is about being totally alone, right? Can you explain a little bit about, what that work causes you to do, and how it rewires you?
Laura: Yeahs, the underworld work is about ... There's a number of different pieces to it, and they all look a little different. The whole of the work is geared to, move us away from theory or nice ideas or really entertaining truths. Into a direct and embodied experience of our own deep, deep connection with self, with the inner wilderness, with the outer wilderness, with the planet, in such a way, that it creates systemic change. It creates profound transformational change in our lives, that we see.
It's about embodiment, it's not about learning something. It's about embodying. The way that we do that is, through the dignity and autonomy of our own experience, and some very skillful mirroring and guiding, suggested nature-based practices. One of it is, doing a vision quest. There's many, many other pieces to it. You're not always physically alone, but the work itself is asking you to return to a state of sovereignty, in the midst of a very patho adolescent culture.
I have a program ... Sarah, you don't even know this yet, but I'm in the midst of designing a program right now, that's going to be launched in the fall, but will be a combination of live group guided sessions, one-on-one mentorship work with myself, home practices, nature-based practices and sometime, a long weekend out, on the land together, for women. Designed to, invite us into our sovereignty. That's going to be there, in the fall. Anyone interested, just stay tuned. This is perfect. I didn't plan that plug either, it just came up.
Sarah: There are a few things I want to get to, before we go. They're both big. One is, why did I introduce you as Laura Anne, after years of calling you Shakti Sunfire?
Laura: Okay, what's the other?
Sarah: The other one is, what do you mean by, living your legend?
Laura: Oh man, okay. All right, Shakti Sunfire is a name that came in, really, really early on for me, for many beautiful, profound, mystical reasons. All of them were very much, in connection to the feminine, my experience of her, as I was growing, all the way back to middle school and beyond. That was a name that was really, really special and important to me. The short version of the story is that, over the years, as I ... It's exactly like what we were just talking about. As I grew in my particular niche, which was the hoop dance world and the movement world. I started getting drunk on external approval and on, like I said, building my little empire and getting the biggest gigs. Filling my classes and all this stuff that was really feeding, more my ego, than my soul.
I didn't realize that, at the time. That was the model that I was given. The predominant model in the yoga world is, "Build your empire and thrive." I went into my own deep journey, a couple of years ago, where I realized that, that story, the story of Shakti Sunfire, who Shakti Sunfire has become, with a very small story.
It was all due respect to the name and the energy of the name, and the deep truth that ... The reason why... Again, there is a reason why I went through all of that. I have no regrets, just gratitude for realizing that "Oh, even I, in the pursuit of what I thought to be my wildest dreams, was living a story in which my healthy ego was in service to Ego. Not just soul, not to my core values, not to my truths, not to the other ways, the earth is wanting to dream through me, what I'm asking now. I had to necessarily, set that aside. I'm in the process of getting out, from under the Shakti Sunfire name, not that ... I still go by that, and that'll still be around. I like to also call in Laura, my birth name, as a way of standing in my own wholeness and my own humanity. That's the short answer.
Sarah: Yeah. I mean, when I first met you, you said that you were in your ego, when we met. I didn't see it because first of all, I didn't really know what ego was. Would you describe a little bit about, what that felt like, to be in your ego. Then, become aware of that?
Laura: Yeah, and I'll try to do that quickly too. It can be a really tricky thing because we think of ego, like we're pompous and walking around, self-aggrandizing and really self-obsessed. Just in this, very princess entitled space or king entitled space. It didn't feel like that, to me. What it felt like was, me, moving through life and doing what I needed to do, and learning what I needed to learn. Which was particularly for me, getting enough external approval, to believe in myself. I really had some low self-esteem, I really had some extra baggage from early, early on in my life, feeling ostracized, especially marginalized. Like, my voice didn't matter.
There was a lot of that, lot of that early wounding that was around. Always tucked back somewhere, that really annoying voice, that never believed in myself. Looking back, I believe that I was in a process of developing a healthy ego. To do that, I needed that much external approval, I needed it. I needed it, to believe in myself. Again, it's not necessarily, this terrible place where we're really acting out of integrity, it's a real ... When I woke up to it, this was maybe, 3 years ago. What it felt like, was feeling like the vision that I had for myself, which was feeding the demon, "More and more external approval please." That's what I wanted, more popularity, more Facebook likes, more this, more that.
That was my primary vision for myself. Then right underneath that, is a close second, was the work with mystery and my deep desire to serve humanity and to leave a legacy, and to be in my truth. All of that was still, very much there and very real to me. When I look back, what I see was, what came first, was social belonging. What came first was, feeding the demon of my social acceptance. I would do that, at cost of my truth, my deepest truth. I would swerve, for greed and for fame. It might not be really obvious because I was also, just struggling and tempering that with my other desires, which were very much there, in a very whole way.
The way that I can describe it now, and I'm certainly not, in some, "Oh, I never worry about my social positioning anymore. I don't care so much about, whether I get this gig or that. If nobody follows me or whatever." It's all still, very much there. I'm still, very much a human being, but my center of gravity now, has a deeper and wider perspective. That the work I want to do now, that I know I need to do, the way that my soul speaks to me and the way that I make choices, is based primarily on, what I know, I need to do. On my core vales and my soul gift. On the way in which I can make my life, and hopefully the lives of many other people, really good food for the earth.
If I have to do that in a way that, I loose every single person that has ever followed me as Shakti Sunfire, then so be it. I'm very clear about that. I'm not trying to hold on to anything. That's how it's different.
Sarah: Yes, thank you, thank you. Living your legend, you've said that a few times. What do you mean by that? I know that stems in Avalon work, which you've been doing Avalon work. Help me with that, what that means?
Laura: Living your legend is, to me ... I want to differentiate really quick, 2 dimensions of the way in which the human being communes with the unseen world. This comes from one of my teachers, Bill Plotkin. He speaks about these 2 dimensions. One being the upper world, which has to do with transcendent consciousness, this sense of being one with everything. Just, total bliss, the ... Transcending the body, transcending the self, transcending the ego. That's the way that religion or spirituality, really has been, in many of the rules and religions, it's very congruent with that kind of vision.
Then there's the underworld. The underworld is connected with, and presumes that, each one of us as an individual, carry something very specific, that is ours to steward, and ours to choose, to seed and to flower. In doing so, it also assumes that, it serves the whole ... One of the ways that we can tell that we're connected to that realm is, through our dreams and through our deep imagination, and through mythology and archetype, and deep and profound emotion. Everything about us that makes us so wildly unique, that is our soul. That's our soul and our soul's gift.
For me, living the legend or living your legacy, is to be so rooted, equally rooted in the world of the unseen, in the world of the archetypal, in the world of ,both and. In that mysterious place of the river of creativity, that is coursing through us, at all times. It's hard to explain very briefly, but in some ways, you could say, and many traditions do, that the dream time world is actually more real than the waking world.
Our connection to things like images or when the hair stands up on our arms or we have a sense of a past life knowing or some crazy coincidence is happening. These are all ways of mystery, speaking to you. Avalon, as a tradition and as a legend, it's very much rooted into the hermetic tradition, into mystic Christianity and to Celtic Indigenous chauvinism. That these threads, they're a legacy and a legend. Actually, a very tangible dimensional reality that we can source from, that we can be in participation, within communication with.
The way that I understand Avalon is that, it very much is about protecting the soul of the earth, specifically. Very connected to earth herself. Many of us are called into that work. There's the mythology that comes along with that, that gets close to the world itself. When we enter into the realm of story or we enter into the realm of dream or enter into the realm of myth. In many ways, those myths are more true than any fact we could ever state. They're deeply subjective, they're deeply personal, they're deeply intimate. They mean so much to us.
When I talk about living your legend or living your legacy or living your myths, really what I'm talking abut is, having such a deep participatory relationship with your own mythopoetic identity. With the archetypes that are speaking through you, with your unique way, your niche, your ecology. The niche that you occupy in this human community, feeding it, understanding it, being in ceremony with it, and directly embodying it into the world. It is my belief that, that anchor point is one of the ways that we can shift the way, that the planet is falling apart right now.
We don't have time, for me to get into the whole, more layers of Avalon. What I believe, that is, but at least I got into a lot of it, as well. It's physical place and it's also not ... One of the ways that my teacher speaks about it, is that it's pulled back into the 5th dimension. It hasn't been safe to be here. With the loss of our imagination, with the loss of magic, with the loss of our connection with the unseen forces, that it retreated. It's still very accessible, just not accessible physically, per se.
Sarah: People, if they work with you personally, they can learn more about Avalon, right?
Laura: Definitely, yeah. If that's an interest of anyone out there, yeah. There's very specific practices and ways of tuning ourselves in, really to the whole mystic realm. Again I want to say, myth does not mean, untruth. It could actually be, the most true thing we have.
Sarah: Oh my god.
Laura: I'll just throw that one in.
Sarah: That's the pull quote of the interview.
Laura: There we go. It's a wrap.
Sarah: Yay. No, but I have to ask everybody, how can the feminine heal the world?
Sarah: That's my last question, so.
Laura: Okay, and I'll have a quick answer for you. The feminine, if we look at, just a wheel really quick. Let's look at a lunar cycle. We've already talked about it, a number of times. A circle is an ancient symbol of wholeness. We see it everywhere in nature, everything is cyclical, right? The breath, we've got the passage of the sun, throughout a day, throughout a year. The phases of the moon. Our menses, the ebb and flow of the time, everything is cyclical, the seasons. That's a really strong mirror for, what it is, to be in a healthy, sustainable relationship with all things. To be in this equal space of the waxing an the waning, of the ebbing and flowing.
Right now, it's the waning, it's the dark, it's the flowing, it's the releasing, it's the dying, it's the deep imagination, it's the reflection, it's the feminine, it's the body that has been exiled. One half without the other, is a sick and dying system. It's just that simple. The feminine will heal the world because it needs a place to be here. It needs to be equal, it needs to be held, it needs to return back into its fullness, so that we can be whole again, on just a very basic level. Asking a feminine to come home is, asking again, for the world to heal. It's synonymous. That's it.
Sarah: Thank you.
Laura: Thank you, Sarah.
Sarah: Yeah, no, you are just amazing, you amaze me. Thank you for your work on yourself, which is the world.
Laura: Thank you for this juicy conversation. You really allow my mystic geek to come out, I really appreciate that. I just get all aroused, it's the best thing ever. Thank you for all of you that are listening. Actually, probably we would have had this exact same conversation, if there weren't others listening. Nice to have you here.