Shamanism as a Path of Unity

‘Shaman’ has become a shorthand term in the west. Taken from the word ‘Saman’ meaning ‘healer’ in the Tungus language and culture of Siberia.

Some are in resistance to this term in Western technocracies, believing that what this word represents can only exist in indigenous societies. Ironically this belief is in contradiction to the essence of what the word ‘Shaman’ and concept of ‘Shamanism’ has come to mean. In Chile, Ecuador, and Peru, the word ‘Chaman’ is also being used as shorthand by holders of long lineages of healers. Likewise this term is being used by different peoples on Turtle Island (commonly referred to as North America). Despite it’s wide usage, shaman is not restrained by it’s origins. It’s etymology, though curious and of course originally appropriated by Dutch colonialists, is not it’s essence.

In it’s essence Shamanism, which for this article I’ll use interchangeably with Animism, is the view that all of life and all experiences and expressions of life are sacred, accepted and interconnected.
It is a non-dualistic practice, it does not reject things by listing them as essentially positive or negative but sees the power of all things in ones approach. Death and dying is a perfectly accepted rite of passage and a process to be revered rather than avoided by any means necessary. Where there is preventable death within reason then death is prevented, where there is inevitable, the suffering is eased and dying is respected.

Rocks are considered to be life just as much as plants and animals. Mountains vibrate with ore and crystal, as well as soil and sand. All of creation has roles and identities in the order of the universe just as much our own family of humans. Rivers carry life giving water from the mountains to the plains and are not forgotten or mistreated but honoured and respected. Just as our own family can teach us, guide us, protect and nourish us, so can our extended family of the plant, animal, mineral and spirit realms.

In animist practice once we are weaned from our natal mother and have begun to walk, we are then introduced to our collective Mother Earth, she who feeds, houses and clothes us. In this time of early childhood we are already in the psyche state of animism, as studied by Swiss psychologist Jean Piaget. The difference in cultures where our interconnectedness is revered is that animism isn’t a stage of childhood that ends in adolescence (when we form, strengthen and test the ego), but an initiation into the mechanisms of life, which introduces the reverence carried through our life journey.

The role of the ‘Shaman’ or Healer, Animist practitioner or what they are known as in their context, is to mediate this interconnection. They are seeking to reinstate you in right-relationship in the world. They mediate these connections through dialogues with material beings and non-material essences of beings. As you speak to the healer before you they likely on some plane of experience are interacting with all the composite energies that have created you in this moment. If they are working with you to alleviate a dis-ease you are experiencing they are likely negotiating with the conflicting elements of your being. The elements of your being are comprised of your parents, your diet, your social groups, your footprint on the planet, your soul and memories and many other things. The helping spirits of rivers and mountains, food and medicine plants, the energies of animals and more are enlisted to rebalance you in a comfortable state of interconnectedness, rather than a rebellious or disconnected one.

In my own initiatory experiences the word ‘Shaman’ was given to me as a shorthand for my conscience engagement with the Great Game of Creation. A passport to awareness in Non-Ordinary Reality. Through initiation I was taught the infinite power of Forgiveness, Compassion, Kindness and Courage. Following these lessons (which are continuing) my engagement with the Game of Life increased and I absorbed deeper understanding of the greater cycles and smaller cycles of Life and my  own places within them. In this knowing one can consciously Way-find through life toward specific manifestations, engaging in ecstasy and embracing lessons along the way.

The shaman knows that nothing comes into our lives without a lesson. We do not vanish dis-ease, ailments or emotional pain, but simply identify it’s essence and speak with it until it’s expression leaves the realm of the material, emotional and spiritual body. Shamanism does not dismiss pain, but instead dialogues with anguish as a teacher and seeks to understand the teaching for the being or place experiencing dis-ease. It’s understood that a pain can be invited by the soul to teach the person how better to nurture the body, mind or community. The shaman will invite the form that is causing the pain to clarify it’s purpose so the pain can leave. The quicker the lesson is committed to, the less likely the pain is to return.
The shaman is a universal archetype, as suffering and healing are universal. Those who are called to this work will often appear as distant or disengaged with constructed reality. In honouring the Web of Life often we must remove ourselves from that which is not in harmony in order to restore balance. The outsider element to this role is the act of the Shaman holding the space of the bridge between Spirit and Sensory.

In animism this pain that removes the person from the community is a divine intervention to allow both the individual and the community to heal from the a disharmonious connection. In the case of a depression, the desire to be alone is honoured while the individual is supported to heal their identity. The individual is not isolated completely as there is an awareness that their is a soul sickness. If the individual requests the healer will retrieve their soul from a trauma, or if the sickness is an initiatory one the individual is encouraged to begin a learning journey of self-healing. Likewise in Western technocracy many see ‘disability’ as being something to avoid.  The animist approach is that those born with, or who develop different capacity are welcome teachers to their community about developing different types of cohesion, co-operation, patience and compassion.

The soul is interested not only in your body, but the body of Earth. Pay attention and you will notice that the holistic actions being requested of those with dis-ease are often those that nourish the natural world. ‘Eat less meat and dairy’ ‘Refrain from gluten’, ‘Spend time barefoot in nature’. Often the client will need to not only repair a relationship to a person, but also to a non-human being, either by eliminating that plant or animal from their diet or by giving offerings. Obesity, in the Web of Life, is an illness of mindless ‘cultivation’ of plants and animals, which leads to mindless consumption, which brings about the karma of the suffering the beings who were mistreated down the chain, to those consuming (and their progeny). In the Web of Life, our bodies are the Universe, made of all the elements, with their origins in the stars.

Why Shamanism/Animism is the Original State

It is a state of universal experience; what is in the Macrocosm is in the Microcosm. As Above, So Below. As the many archaeologists and anthropologists have noted Animism (or Shamanism) is the original ‘religion’ (a word which means ‘to bond’). Therefore Animism is our first bond to the spiritual experience historically, and also our first perceptive experience of the material in early childhood.

In creating Eden one could say we each are borne into an animated, fully interative and living world. That our Eden lasts as long as we are allowed our ‘imaginary friends’ and our bond with the natural material world. In this world, all the material is sacred and nuanced. We ‘fall’ with the arrival of the myth of seperation, the myth of objectivity or ‘Other’. We are introduced to the notion of non-feeling beings. Objects and in contemporary society animals and plant and elemental beings are percevied as such also.

This is where goal oriented ‘rationalism’ is introduced at the cost of connectedness. This can be our first major trauma in this life (birth/ our first day at school/ our first separation from our mothers) where we are not enabled to re-establish our place in the web (as what is necessary to re-establish it is not in the interest of the goal oriented society) we gradually fall further away from it.

When the shaman retrieves the soul fragments of a person that were lost through difficult experiences, the soul is being brought back to their Eden. Thus the individual becomes further empowered to return to their state of Eden and connection in the Web of Life. What does this look like?

This looks like an individual honouring their talents and gifts, honouring those they love, all their relations and the living land and elements that support them. The individual is supported by Spirit to realise their reason for being, be it Motherhood, Leadership, Stewardship, Creation, Connection or any of the other myriad expressions of the soul.

Being truly oneself and honouring Creation by doing so IS the return to Paradise.

As the source of all religions, the animist, to borrow the Australian Aboriginal term, ‘Dreamtime’ of early childhood, and early humanity, is the essential roots of our humanity. The lessons and connections learned in these personal and collective epochs are to be nurtured and protected, not discarded. In seeking your souls purpose, ask the child within you what she (/he) truly believes in, for herself and for the world. Nurture that, for it is the key to your souls journey forged in the time before you knew the rights and wrongs of duality.

What is needed for real thriving and real healing of society and the planet is for us to remember ourselves and remember that we are ALL indigenous to the Earth, we are ALL connected to Her and one another, we all crawl, walk, swim, slither, and stand beneath Father Sky and we are responsible for right relationships to our true selves to cultivate right relationship to the illusion of other also. These relationships are not for other cultures, they are universal human experiences that we all can reawaken as we reawaken and explore to potential of our own souls.

Animism, through the practice of sacredness revives the value of all experience. The more we can value the original cycles of life in ourselves and our society, the more the living earth can thrive.

Ahau

Kissing Cobras

 

In the above video a priestess kisses a cobra three times to bring rain to her people.

This is an act of someone with much more than wonderful reflexes. In actuality her strength is in her lack of reflex, her non-reactionary dance with serpent, that deflects but never rejects him. She is a woman with great awareness. They are matched, dance partners coaxing and chiding one another with graceful cadence and gentle rebuffs. Yes the cobra is deadly, and can kill her. Likewise the priestess is deadly to the cobra and could also be the end of him.

In this act there is so much more than stolen kisses from the crown of a King Cobra. These kisses are not stolen but earned through the grace of her movements and knowing. The cobra is muted by her intuitive response that mirrors him before he can move and her body’s oscillation around the stillness of her center. This is a high act of equals. She is not taming, thieving or intimidating, but matching her partner perfectly.

There is a dialogue, a potential affection; beyond reaction. This is the space in which we swap medicines. What rains come from the cobra the same gains come to the cobra through this exchange. Both are exhilarated by the chance to dance with the untamed, the respected and feared. The electricity between them mimics the sky lit with lightening before he releases upon the earth his rain. The serpent comes forth from his cave like lightening from the cloud. His throws and tongue are like flashes and cracks that split the sky and stick the plains below.

How does this bring rain to the people?

As the alchemical maxim goes; as above, so below

The tension of this dance, and the romance between earth in the form of the woman and sky in the form of the snake is like that of pre-monsoon. In the labouring, sweltering season before monsoon all the grudges flare up, the sky rumbles threateningly, and the earth looks to it hopeful yet exhausted, hardly able to bear another scorching. Yet here it comes, the thunderbolts and the lightening, to lift the last of the dust and the pollen from the earth and swirl it in the air. So that when the rain finally pours, the seeds are pushed into her in exactly the place they need to be.

The awareness of this ritual is in knowing that sometimes what we are seeking is veiled beyond the thundercloud and can burst forth through violent means, but it is in receptivity and non reaction that we can be quenched by it’s true intention and meaning. Once we are witness of the other and their grievances,  resistances, fears and intolerances; only then can we receive their essence.

The metaphor in this powerful ritual speaks to me that what we fear the most often mutually fears us.
We all fear the other, but through that fear is the greatest creative potential; deep trust. There is such depth of trust between these two beings. Both have a true innate knowing that they are equals and mean the other no harm, yet they play their roles to test the others commitment to that trust.

The lesson of this priestess and this serpent is in fact about safety and trust. That when we are flowing and receptive, allowing for the nature of things to be; we can flow beyond the reactionary and flow in harmony with what seems to be dangerous and defiant, accepting threat as potential that is as of yet unrealised, and can manifest in a different guise if we allow for it.

This immense trust is what inspires and relieves her people that the rain will come. If this priestess can place her lips upon the crown of a cobra three times; then surely we can trust the sky to quench us with rain at the right time.

We all have cobras to kiss, whether they are aspects of ourselves or another. We all need to love and be in flow what cannot be controlled, what we cannot tame.
Trust in the timing, trust in the dance, trust in your role in the cosmic romance between what scorches and quenches you.
It is with this that true power gushes forth and our lives, loves and our relationships are washed in a great soaking of compassionate and creative rain.

The Diamond in the Labyrinth

lanbyrinth

A labyrinth is distinct from a maze as there is only one path to the center. Although complicated, it’s not fruitless trickery, but an allegory for the meditative processes of life.

It is the archetypical representation of the Medicine Walk. The labyrinth does not just take us through life but also through ourselves. We can find this pattern repeated in the fold of the grey matter of the brain to the arteries of the heart to the intestines of the gut; our three major experiential processing and intuitive centers. The subtlety of what lies within the center is the cumulative experience of the walk, the diamond we chip our route through stone to reveal.

This is likewise the symbol of the Walkabout. I am using the Australian Aboriginal term Walkabout to describe the initiatory journey after the experience of separation occurs. Separation, like it says on the jar of nut butter, is a natural process. We separate at points in our paths in order to further ascend through the spiral of life. Those who resist experience harder separation, those who embrace often find they have more terra firma to return to following their Walkabout.

Separation is not only from family, or place, or community. Separation can be from a concept of self that is dying away. We can cling to concepts of self; ‘nice guy’, ‘wild one’, ‘responsible one’ and create great suffering for ourselves and those around us with this attachment. This happens either by refusing to journey outward and gather new tools for learning, loving and living, or by resisting the journey inward to integrate our shadow, our regrets, expectations and our truths.

The Walkabout is a process wherein we distinguish ourselves beyond conditioning and external narratives.

When we enter the labyrinth of the mind, either through journeying away from our normal life into a state of pilgrimage or liminality, or by retreating from social expectations and responsibilities, we begin to navigate towards what it is we essentially think. For example you may grow up in a society that decrees that the role of man is to own women, cattle and land, and that this is the Holy calling of Mankind. As you begin to question these ideals you will feel yourself called further away from your kin in order to gain perspective. Similarly, you may perceive the devastation of consumerist capitalism and it’s influence within you and begin to question the norms surrounding you as demonstrably toxic to a healthy life.

In our Walkabout through the mind what does not rest easy within will be met as personal demons. The Walkabout of the mind can likewise be experienced through the Labyrinth of Life. We can encounter these demons in human forms as those who trigger or repulse us. Our Minotaurs, who seek to slay us with our hypocrisies and attachments. In our minds they are the uncomfortable thoughts, the stifled memories and jack-in-the-box epiphanies. On this journey, either of intro(or extro)spection we also meet teachers, guides and versions of ourselves in those we admire or are assisted by.

On the Walkabout of the Heart we are often compelled by a lack of passion, a lack of meaning, a feeling of isolation. We begin to seek true love, real purpose. First we seek with grasping, then as we meet all the ideas that we had of true love, we realise it was not those we were looking for. As we begin to release what we thought true love looked like we create a space of trust i vulnerability of not knowing. Once this space is cleared we can allow for unconditional love to flow.

This Mantra offers insight to a route to this treasure within.

ॐ मणिपद्मे हूँ

Om Manipadme Hum

‘The Sound of Silence the Diamond in The Lotus’

My interpretation of this multifaceted Mantra;

‘In the absence of all Thought is Love, Beyond Judgement we find the Jewel of the Heart beneath the protective walls of the Labyrinth, or the guarded petals of the Lotus.’

Eventually the meander through twists and turns to reveal the sparkling source of this seeming chaos is the first two phases of the initiatory process of the labyrinth. The next challenge is to return with your treasure intact. On the Walkabout of the Will our mettle is tested in the change we want to effect in ourselves and in the world around us. This Walkabout is the Walkabout of the intuitive instinct, the ability to trust your knowing above all else, no matter what narratives attempt to sway, entice and compromise you. This is the initiation of determination and practice, wherein we must defeat remaining demons, overcome old obstacles and embrace new challenges so as to implement all that we have learned.

At all points in our lives we are navigating one type of labyrinth or another. To do this with awareness means we can further embrace our calling and better actualise our paradise. Doing this unconsciously can leave us circling through someone elses journey, as we attempt to evade our truth by avoiding the Initiation of Separation.

Life will create initiations where culture will not. By this it is meant that what we do not confront in a timely manner will enter into crisis. An example of this is delaying the ending of a relationship. Many times we can put off ending relationships in a timely fashion before greater interdependence grows (or co-dependence) due to there being something going on for one or both parties. The lesson is that painful endings are never going to be timed well, and the more we delay the more likely it is that the relationship dependency will deepen and it will become a greater and greater challenge for one or both to remove themselves. An example of this is a case where a woman who, after a decade, had finally committed herself to ending her marriage. When she waa ready to speak with her partner she was greeted with the news that her husband was dying of a terminal illness. The decade evolved into a further five years of mediocrity of life and stress. She remained with her husband on his journey through his illness rather than taking her opportunity to self-actualise. Had she left during her initial need for separation who knows what may have come of her life.

Choosing what North American Indians refer to as ‘The Red Road’, the personal Medicine or Power Path is to seek initiation consciously through mapping the contours of the psyche; so that others may walk their path more lightly. The Red Road is the path of authenticity and personal truth. The Red Road requires that we take opportunities to mature as they arise and we do not resist the growing pains of separation, disappointing others and ridicule. We know on this path that all we do is clearing the way for those who will come after. There is no sacrifice, as our engagement with our truth is how we honour our predecessors; and it is a blessing.

Choosing ‘The Black Road’ is to seek ‘ease’ through bypassing (and thus dishonouring) the sacred cycles of death and rebirth in this lifetime. The Black Road is the road of the status quo and stagnant culture. The road of excuses and avoidance, that does not seek integrity but simply accepts applied law and standards. Many will chose the Black Road. Many won’t realise that choice until the initiation of separation is forced on them through crisis. Those who can embrace the lessons of separation will transfer to the Red Road, those who run may never know true growth.

So Brothers and Sisters, Blessings on your Path and Remember;

Seek Initiation, Walk your Red Road, Find your Medicine, Keep the Treasures Safe, and Bring your Power Home.

Ahau

What is Kundalini Awakening?

To put a massive topic into a brief synopsis; it is the awakening of the latent potential of the soul.

rainbow-serpent-snakeskin-inspiration-1_0783dfd1-787d-488c-a931-c2921416c6e1

Sometimes felt in strange rushes through the body or heightened awareness of energy held within oneself. Often referred to as spiritual emergence, it is the rising of a greater consciousness through the energetic body. Many people feel it in bouts of depression followed by blissful revelations and intense experiences.

It is often accompanied by increasing awareness of synchronicity, psychic experience and deep revelations (of past lives/traumas and repressed feelings and memories). Some experience visitations from deceased relatives, angels or other spiritual beings. These can be overwhelming and occasionally traumatic. When this occurs in the Western social context it is often perceived and diagnosed as psychosis or bi-polar disorder.
This is the Western diagnostic lens, which I do not dispute as being a valid lens, yet it is only a rationalist perspective that does not factor the presence of Spirit.

People experiencing Kundalini awakening are susceptible to paranoia and compulsive seeming behaviours. Really Kundalini awakening is a deep catharsis process wherein the ego is deconstructed by the soul. The more fear the ego is holding the more the deconstruction disrupts the life of the individual.

It’s the soul’s rollercoaster, represented by the rainbow serpent. It’s both a beautiful and painful process of expanding self awareness. Whatever is not truly something you are doing with authenticity and integrity will have to leave your life, this can include marriages, careers and material belongings. This separation period is profoundly difficult and can make the individual feel deeply despondent.

Siddha Kundalini healing with the Sanjeevni Shakti channel can ease the transition by removing blocks in energetic field that may be stifling the free flow of Kundalini. This can alleviate symptoms such as depression and lethargy, or calm manias and feverish dispositions. It can also give clarity to messages that are being transmitted through archetypical metaphor. For example often those in peak Kundalini experience will believe that they are a reincarnation of Jesus Christ, or some other heroic or spiritual figure. In effect they are realising their duty to be an embodiment of that energy (for example the Christian principle of unconditional love and forgiveness) rather than being an actual embodiment of Jesus. This means they have awoken to that frequency and feel a responsibility to hold that energy on earth.

At this point shamanic grounding practices can help the individual to feel more present on the Earth plane of experience and to return to their ego in a healthful and love-based, rather than fear-based way.

The good news about a Kundalini awakening is that it is the beginning of your own personal heroes journey (check out Joseph Campbell : The Hero With A Thousand Faces for more on this process). A huge amount of energy has come to your disposable to help you along the path of healing so you can come into conscious co-creation on the planet.

What does this mean?

In the wisdom traditions this means there is a call for one to heal something through their own healing process. All the work you embark upon to change your life to a more authentic and personal experience (beyond the conditioning of social expectation and closer to your truth), clears the path for another. So even if you do not become a healer, or Jesus, you may finally begin to immerse yourself in your creative gifts, or start a business, or begin to truly connect with your family, as the blocks are surpassed by your spirit. These connections become more meaningful as you witness them emancipate others on their path.

For example ; How many times have you been healed by a piece of music, even though it was soaked in suffering? Did you ever have a teacher who nurtured and inspired you? Has a family member ever overcome an addiction to connect again to their loved ones?

I am not saying that all of these people experience Kundalini awakening, but their authenticity and determination facilitates yours. Furthermore, by following your truth, you will inevitably facilitate others. You are not only healing yourself, but your family, friends, community, and eventually the planet. When we awaken we effectively become conscious players in the game of duality.

As Kundalini is active in each chakra it triggers different levels and experiences of healing in the physical, emotional, mental and spiritual realms. If you would like to consult with me on these please feel free to use the contact form or email me directly at
sionnachshakti@gmail.com

The Tantric traditions use the term Kundalini and that has become the shorthand for a universal human experience. Like the biosphere and nature these processes do not belong to anyone, they just are (even though egoic man likes to kid themselves it does). In Celtic traditions it is the Rainbow Bridge, in Australian Aboriginal it is the Rainbow Serpent, the Christian Tradition refers to it as the Holy Spirit, in Hermeticism it’s the process of the Alchemical Marriage (Mysterium Conjunctis). It is often represented by rainbows, snakes and birds.

If you are experiencing this your experience is universal and is one of interconnectedness, although it may feel lonely and overwhelming. You are not alone and help will come when it’s time, if you just ask for it, from source or your guides, healers and shamans or friends who understand. (You can also ask me!)

There is a necessary adjustment period after we awaken to new realms of consciousness and it can be a wobbly first few steps, but trust in the earth beneath and the sky above and you will find your feet.

Believe in your strength as much as your vulnerability. Stay in your truth, grounded and humble and your service to your soul and the planet will flow.

Ahau

The Lighthouse Keeper

“Be the light you want to see in the world”

– (probably misquoted from) Gandhi.

Some vintage good advice there. Right? Maybe. The way I originally encountered this saying was in fact;
‘Be the change you want to see in the world’.

Change…
Therein lies the massive difference.

First of all what is ‘light’?

When chronically confronted with ‘darkness’ and difficulty, as were are in the media, in society and in our personal lives, a sink or swim response is triggered. We feel we are confronted with an ‘either/or’ choice. We can ‘hold light’ as it were, be a bright beaming ray of positivity in a world gone mad, or a situation that is devastating, or we can ‘succumb’ to the perceived negativity and difficulty.


Within the ‘awakening’ or ‘conscious’ community there’s a heavy focus on being ‘positive’ and keeping a ‘positive’ mindframe. Keeping the frequency up and being able to worm through any issue into a positive spin on behalf of others. There’s nothing innately wrong with this ‘brightside’ attitude. It’s often comforting to be in the company of someone who can shift your perspective to a positive, to help you focus on the best ‘possible’ outcome and encourage you to go on in the face of adversity. Yet this is a focus on an outcome, rather than a process. A delayed gratification of living.

This attitude to me is akin to the archetypal role of the lighthouse keeper. The people who are holding this light are standing dutifully by the rocks guiding us away from danger, beaming through the night, aloof and distant, always willing to provide a smile. Yet the existence of the lighthouse keeper is one of the stranger, of the unknowable light. Living alone as a beacon, guiding, giving hope and illumination, but never truly encountering those they guide.

 

When imbalanced the light is a mirage to bypass the connection of the darkness. We grow in the dark just as much as we do in the light, and in the dark we grow together. Think of a time in your life when a connection was forged that was profoundly deep. Was it forged through silver linings or muddy trenches? Think of community responses to crisis. Even the bonds of non-familial brotherhood and sisterhood that emerges in combat and conflict. The connection we make with others who are grieving, others who are struggling with parenthood, others who are struggling with getting up in the morning.

Yet in order to forge these bonds we need three essential steps, the first is to acknowledge our pain, the second is to accept that it makes us feel vulnerable or powerless and the third is to seek relief through connection; to ask for a witness. Lighthouse Keepers as archetypical people have a hard time allowing themselves be loved. They are always in the active role of the lightbringer. The giver, the doer, the space holder. This anxious role is a subtle way to maintain distance and self/image-control. This is so as not to be seen as vulnerable, not acknowledge pain and most fundamentally to bypass the connection one acquires through trusting an other to empathise, accept and witness.

Lighthouse Keepers are the strong ones, who secretly feel that what they struggle with is ‘too much’ for an ‘other’ to hold. This feeling of ‘too much’ relates to the sense of inadequacy that can come from being shamed for being emotional in public as a child, or from an incident of broken trust, wherein the occasions on which they reached out for help, acceptance or witnessing the child, teen or adult was dismissed. They then vow never to be the ones who need but instead engage by being the ones who are needed.  

 

The immense responsibility of this role comes at the cost of healthily diffused intimacy, or in other words having closeness with different people. The Lighthouse Keeper may have one tight bond, or none at all. They may need to spend vast stretches of time alone in order to prepare themselves for the role of lightbringer, to keep their sunny demeanour and be positive with a controlled presence. This again negates their ability to nurture budding connections as they retreat at the threshold of mutual recognition to gather strength so they can maintain their vantage above the riptides.

As an archetype it is fitting that Lighthouse Keepers were often unmarried, lonely, and that in modernity they have been replaced by robots. Without connection through vulnerability we can become a collection of fun memories and some inspirational quotes, little more than a social media presence or a happy go lucky public persona.

To return to our opening gambit, the oft misquoted piece ‘Be the light you want to see in the world’ versus, ‘Be the change you want to see in the world’. Let’s look again at light. Light is duality, it comes in conflict with dark, comes to dominate the dark. To avoid the growing pains of self and other, to say a new day is right around the corner and automatically beams out positivity without responsive action.

Change is a condition of flowing acceptance, the space of dawn to midday, dusk to twilight. One that acknowledges the nuance of life and that all states are valuable to all people. Many birds sing at dawn, many sing at dusk, others sing at night, swans sing at the point of death. Our most passionate and beautiful moments don’t always come in the light of day. Change is responsiveness to self and other, seeing all states as valid and impermanent. Change comes with the awareness that ‘this too shall pass’ therefore there is no ‘better’ way to be, as who we are right now can either be acceptable or unacceptable, but it will persist in being.

It seems that often what we seek when we are drawn to the Lighthouse is not a stoic beam but something as subject to the thundering sea as we are. Often when we are drawn to the Lighthouse we are looking for reassurance that it’s ok that we are lost. When we are greeted with fervent nudge back en route in the ‘right direction’ we also feel cheated of the connection. We are fooled to believe that the lighthouse keeper is a fellow mariner who can nod and give us the acknowledgement of someone who knows these oceans and sees what they can do, knows the way forward. We feel cheated until we see that often they are there because they became shipwrecked themselves and decided to stay so they could keep others away from the jagged shoreline and the shallow berths.

I have been a Lighthouse Keeper in an attempt to escape the relentless depth of the sea. In that time I found that storms are best traversed in company rather than weathered individually. Without hesitation I am grateful the Lighthouses that have guided me. Still I would rather see them shining from a safe harbour than an abandoned beach.

I urge those of you who resonate with this article to step from your post toward someone who you sense might know your journey. Learn that to acknowledge your pain is not a spread of negativity but a hand outstretched to another who may be suffering. Recognise that real power comes through sharing your vulnerability to emancipate others from shame in their suffering. You will find, even if there are knocks, stumbles, tumbles and falls that allowing ourselves to be witnessed and accepted by those who love us as we love them can part the sea and lead us to our home shores.