A Winter Solstice Morn – a year later… “Shackles Off”

As I wake on this Winter Solstice morn, I am taken back to a year ago at this time. Step back with me to the beginning of this story, to last Winter Solstice …

Last year at this very time, I was laying on the floor of my bathroom, praying to the Gods to make the bleeding stop. To stop the 18 hours of hemorrhaging. No sleep, incredible pain, fear beyond my words or capacity for understanding. Terror as I lay there, clutching my belly, begging myself, the Gods to make it stop. It finally eased enough for me to avoid admission to the hospital.

That was my first of three uterine surgeries this year.

That was before my kitty Lexi suddenly died.

Before so many things.

“Gods, make it stop!”

I missed our first Spirit’s Edge: A Seeker’s Salon Yule ritual. Despite the woe-as-me as I laid there on the floor hemorrhaging, I knew the Light would come again. I knew there was a spark deep inside even if I could not express it to others in those moments. I was in, as I had been starting in early fall of last year, my own year of the Descent of the Goddess. I was on a journey through the Underworld. I knew it. And I knew it too when Lexi sugar died on February 9 of a rare genetic liver shunt disease at the age of 6 ½ – my beloved little Lexi who had laid on my belly, loving her mamma through this journey.

Descent … up close and personal, in all its’, um, glory?

Yes. All magickal workers and those on a spiritual path know these times, as I really think that all experience in life. It’s just that we recognize it for what it is. What book has not included some story of a Dark Night of the Soul? Or of a Descent to the Underworld, stripping all bare in its wake. How about the Story of Job? You can read about Job in prior blog posts here.

And I lay there, naked and bare.

There were more things to come. In a year’s time, I experienced job loss, death, loss, three surgeries, loss of my womb, and removal of all things that no longer serve my soul’s path. I lost those who judged me, who held conditional love for me, as I struggled to find my own voice, my own path, my own calling. To stand in my own power.

I remember maybe two years ago, a colleague on the path asked me why I wasn’t standing in my own power. He was talking about something else, and it wasn’t quite applicable to that situation, but the point was still valid. Because I was not standing in my own power.

And why not?

I was giving away my power. Giving away my power to others. To make others happy, to be what they expected me to be, to be who they thought Shea should be. To avoid judgment. To jump through their hoops of conditional love. Yet, I freely gave my power away to all takers. I gave my life force away. I gave it to them, and I gave it to those who violated my boundaries, those who I let take and take from me.

I saw all of this while I lay on the floor, bleeding my life force. I was not in my power then to do the work to break free and be my authentic self, but in those moments of pure terror in the middle of the night, on that cold floor, I saw.

I saw.

Boy oh boy, did I see. For the most part, I kept what I saw to myself. And as I healed my body, I healed my soul. I broke free. I held my boundaries. I stopped giving away my life force to all takers.

And as I did, I was blessed with the most incredible healers, ministers and friends – all of these new and amazing people entering my life. Release of the old, dull and heavy, making way for the new, light and beautiful.

Martha Beck talks about the idea of “Shackles On” and “Shackles Off.” I looked down and I saw them – black heavy shackles, around my feet, my hands, my throat – especially around my throat! Make no mistake, I let it happen. The Devil? Think of the tarot picture. Fetal position on the floor of the bathroom. Yeah, I know that dude. But, no one can take your power away unless you freely give it.

What did I do?

Oh baby, I didn’t just take the shackles off. Nope.

I took those shackles off, threw them, screaming in my warrior’s voice, the breath and power of the Morrighan flowing through my soul, through my body and breath, and I threw them into the fires. I melted them down.

I forged them into steel, into a finely honed blade.

I forged those shackles into the Sword of Truth.

With that Sword, I took back my power.

Shackles off.

Shackles off, baby. And boy, doesn’t that feel amazing! Sweet, sweet freedom. The Crow’s wings spread open, flying higher and higher, becoming that of the Eagle. Does this mean the path is now easy and there are never any obstacles? No, absolutely not.

But what it does mean is that somehow all of the obstacles just fall away, no matter where they come from, it just all falls away. It is as if new paths are being forged daily, like new tributaries to the river, increasing the flow and rolling away all obstacles. And no matter any obstacles from any source that are tossed into my path, they flow away. It’s what happens when you are on your right path, pursuing your true calling, standing in your own power, living the life your soul meant for you to live. All of what no longer serves, released, transformed, building a new foundation, for a great and beautiful new structure. Dreaming Your Life anew.

You can see some of the amazing fabulous firsts that happened this past year as I healed myself in my last blog. And those fabulous first don’t include the truly personal, and very long list, of incredible spiritual blessings and transformations within myself, my soul, this year.

Sure, there will always be thorns in the bed of roses. The difference is that if you take time to smell the roses, their sweet intoxicating scent will overwhelm any prick of thorns, each and every time. True that sometimes it may take a lot of sniffing! – But it always works, every time. Always.

I learned something very important on the Michael Harner Foundation for Shamanic Studies Two Week Healing Intensive this October. Rather striking that it was over my birthday. (With a shout out to my Bear and Witch sisters who bore witness and carried the voice of Spirit.) It was like the culmination of rebirth from this past year, from my Descent into the Underworld. And more than learned – I saw. I knew. I felt. I was.

I learned that “I am not sorry. I am Shea.”

Say that to yourself, with your own name. Let it roll off the tongue. Feel it vibrate into the core of your being. How does that feel? Say it again. Feel your own power.

Don Miguel Ruiz talks about the idea of domestication. The idea of “good boy” or “bad boy.” Think of it in the tone of voice as if you were talking to a dog or to a child.

I would hear, “good Shea”, “naughty Shea” and then tie myself up in knots, giving away my power, trying to be this “good Shea” as others defined it in their stories and opinions. Feel the shame, Shea, feel the shame…you were “naughty Shea, bad Shea.”

Judge. Jury. Executioner.

Shame. Guilt. Grief.

I allowed judgment and unconditional love from others to place these shackles of shame, guilt and grief on me. I no longer accept these shackles. I lay down their burdens. I do not blame or hold anything but Love for all – it is their story, their path, their journey. We each have our own story, as I’ve also written about on this blog. Yet the responsibility is my own as I had accepted it, all of their “gifts” of shame, guilt and grief. I accepted the shackles, and I was not my authentic self.

Shackles on.

I have seen my own version of hell. I was there last December at the Winter Solstice on that bathroom floor. I did not go through this journey for nothing. And I won’t be doing this again – learn your lessons or you will repeat them. Nope. No more.

I am not sorry. I am Shea.

As I woke this morning, I woke not with a desire to fondle all of the traumas of this past year. Far from it.

I woke with this immense gratitude and peace of where every single choice and every single experience has brought me to this amazing place. I no longer accept the shackles. I no longer accept the burdens of others. Truth be told, I began laying down their burdens as I lay on the bathroom floor that dark winter’s night. The night where everything began to change.

I am grateful for this place where I am free.

I Love myself. And only from Love can you truly serve.

I smell the roses, I spread my wings, I fly with Eagle. I live with Crow inside of me, wings outstretched. I have found my voice. I thank the Morrighan and all my guides and allies, the helping compassionate spirits and all of the unconditional love that has been given to me. Prodding me on and encouraging me on to where otherwise terror would have held me in those shackles.

I woke this morning with the feeling of stretching wings. Stretching out into the future. Crow called. I felt the Morrighan’s caress.

This new journey is scary sometimes, as many new things are. But it is a sweet type of scary. It is the kind that fuels your work, the kind that pushes you to new places and heights that you never thought of before. Terrifying in its own way, yet invigorating. Joyful. Happy. Blissful. All of those things.

With all the love and gratitude in my heart, I send that Love, Light and Peace out to all of you.

With the message that if you are struggling, if you are trying to find your wings, if you are trying to throw off the shackles in your life, that you can do it! If I did it, I know you can do it too. Claim your power. Take it back.

Are you Shackles On? Or are you Shackles Off? Ask yourself in every given situation and moment of your life. Stand in your power. And anything is possible. What do you create? What life do you choose? What story do you write? What do you dream for your life? Now … Go. Live. It! In all your light.

I look forward to celebrating the birth of Sun with Spirit’s Edge: A Seeker’s Salon tonight for our second Yule ritual, and my first with this community.

And I am truly blessed. Merry Yule indeed!

Much love and Solstice blessings,

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