You are viewing the "spiritual journey" Archives
Posted on:  Aug 6, 2023 @ 10:00 Posted in:  Path Basics, Pathwork
Hansel and Gretel are lost in the woods and leave a trail of breadcrumbs to find their way home. Though this plan doesn’t seem to work out so well for them, it offers an evocative metaphor for those of us who are spiritual seekers on a journey home to a soul-based life.
My spiritual journey began in earnest the day I realized there was something essential missing from my life, that was somehow related to my soul. I was in the midst of my MBA studies, lost in a material, career-driven life, with an aching hunger for something I neither understood nor knew where to find.
No matter that I was lost, I had woken up to my spiritual hunger and decided that I needed to change. And that was enough. The Mysteries, those powerful, invisible forces that underlie our waking reality, heard my yes to change, and began to leave a trail of crumbs, in the form of life-changing encounters and events, for me to follow.
A few months later, I completed my MBA and set off on a solo backpacking adventure in Europe. Shortly into the trip, I landed on the wrong train in France, only to hook up with a fellow adventurer, who was also on the wrong train. She was a beautiful young woman from Hawaii, with an edge of wildness and burgeoning, feminine-based spirituality.
We decided to travel together, joining our itineraries. She took me to the subterranean caves of Dordogne to see Paleolithic paintings, and here I encountered the Goddess for the first time. Though I had no words or concepts to explain this encounter, I felt Her pulsing omnipresence the moment I descended into the womb-like darkness of the cave.
Somewhere along the way, I understood that I was on a Hansel and Gretel journey, and that the Mysteries and my soul were leading me home to the presence of being and soulful life that I longed for. My task was to follow the trail of crumbs, doing the soul work presented by each, knowing that the next crumb would naturally follow.
Your Hansel and Gretel Journey
As a spiritual seeker, perhaps you are also on a Hansel and Gretel journey. Whatever you have lost and whatever you are longing for, these things set you on your path of soul, leading you home to a richer, fuller expression of your Deep Self and the best of your nature and gifts
When you say yes to your soul’s longings, you are also saying yes to the Mysteries. With these potent forces at your back, opportunities and challenges show up on your path, gifting you with their impetus for healing and personal growth.
Through a Hansel and Gretel frame, you can conceive and consciously engage the Mysteries and your everyday life as guides for your spiritual healing, growth and evolution.
Here is what this pathwork looks like.
1. Start with your soul hungers.
What longings underlie your spiritual life? What are you hungry for? What are your deepest desires? What are you seeking?
From this awareness, name your longings and say yes to the personal change these soul-based desires invoke. You don’t need to know what these changes are; what matters are your sense of the rightness of your longings, and your readiness to follow where they lead.
This yes aligns your soul-based desires with the Mysteries, or powers of life, or Goddess, or God, or however you name and understand the unseen forces and energies that direct and influence waking-world reality.
2. Look for the crumb: the gift/clue from the Mysteries to direct your pathwork.
I sometimes call this pathwork: what’s in my face now? This is not an elegant turn of phrase, but an accurate one. The crumbs that the Mysteries leave on your path reveal themselves in the opportunities, challenges and unusual incidents that are right in front of your nose, and very hard to ignore.
Turn your awareness to what is happening in your life at the moment. What are you dreaming about? What challenges or positive opportunities have come your way? What is bothering you? Exciting you? What do you find yourself drawn to or repelled by?
Now widen your awareness to catch anything unusual, unexpected or attention-grabbing that has crossed your path. These can include social exchanges, synchronistic occurrences and physical objects. I am especially fond of found magic: unexpected objects that you stumble upon or that appear out of nowhere.
License plates can deliver messages. Books can fall open to specific pages. Unusual behaviors by animals can alert you to their totemic qualities. You can feel inexplicably drawn to something. Or have your plans waylaid, only to find yourself in some other, perfect situation. The possibilities are endless.
In this pathwork, look for common, reoccurring themes or messages. The Mysteries like to repeat and reinforce their crumb clues.
3. Pick up and claim the crumb: do the healing and personal growth work that the crumb has revealed to you.
This step takes commitment and courage, because soul work is rarely convenient or comfortable, and often takes you to the painful, shadowy places in your life story and experiences.
Yet there is great beauty and power in this work of soul. You are on the trail of your Deep Self and the best of your nature and gifts. As you heal and transform the old of your pain and suffering, you unleash greater love and goodness into your life. This is the hard, but wondrous work of healing and reclaiming your soul.
What this looks like will differ for each individual and at different times on your spiritual journey. And there is no perfect way to do the work, nor a predetermined destination or ideal state you are trying to reach.
There is only the imperative to do the soul work that has come to you, to the best of your ability, and with wisdom and self-care. You can go as deep and as far as is right for you, taking the time and gathering the resources (personal and professional) you need, with the knowledge that this is a journey of many steps, big and small, where one step/crumb naturally leads to the next.
4. Eat the crumb: let yourself be changed by your pathwork.
Though this may seem obvious: you do the work in order to be changed, this step can be the most difficult of all.
To truly change on a substantive, soulful level is to come face to face with fear and resistance, both inner and from your outer environment. These negative reactions are an expected part of the process. You know you are riding your edge and getting somewhere new when you come up against strong resistance and reluctance to change.
Listen to your fear and resistance, and let them inform your pathwork without derailing it.
Open and be changed, moving forward and deeper on your journey of soul. Again, give this your best, while acting with wisdom and ensuring self-care.
5. Begin again: look for the next crumb.
One crumb leads to the next, and the next.
Relax into and trust the journey. Play, keep your sense of humor, and stay with love, especially when the going gets tough.
Be curious and don’t over analyze, this journey will change you in ways you can’t even begin to imagine. The more loose and open you are, the more profound and life-changing the adventure.
Follow your instincts and wisdom. Make sure you have the healing support and guidance you need, both personal and professional. Always put self-care first.
After almost thirty years as a spiritual seeker, I am still following my path of crumbs. The pathwork changes as I change, taking me deeper into the roots of my life story and experiences. With each crumb, I shed the old and become something new, coming home ever more deeply to my Deep Self and best nature.
It is still a path that requires great courage and commitment, though the forest is no longer dark and scary, and the challenges and struggles are tempered by the well-spring of love and power that has become my natural state of being.
I never cease to marvel at the wide, wild journey I have been on, from the profoundly unhappy and disconnected young woman I was, lost in a material, soulless life, to the woman I am now, comfortable in my own skin and beholden to what is best and beautiful inside of me.
In all these things, and so many more, I know that Hansel and Gretel have indeed revealed a great truth: that we can only ever find our way home one crumb at a time.
Artist: Ted Chin (tedslittledream.com)
The hero’s journey comes to us through the comparative mythology writings of the late, brilliant Joseph Campbell. Stripped to its basic structure: the hero is given a quest or call to adventure; he sets out on a journey, gaining allies, struggling through great trials, and growing through his experiences; he has to face his biggest battle and through his victory he achieves his quest and claims his treasure; and then he returns to the ordinary world as a reborn or changed man.
If this storyline sounds familiar, it’s because we humans have been telling this tale through much of our history, most currently in some of our most beloved movies and books. Frodo, Luke Skywalker and Harry Potter have captivated us with their hero’s journey, activating the archetypal roots of this mythic story in our human psyche.
The assumption in many literary and academic circles is that the hero’s journey is a universal tale that speaks to our human quest for spiritual and personal growth. And though I love these hero stories as much as the next person, this assumption has never sat well with me.
In the basic structure of the hera’s journey: the Goddess chooses to leave the land above and descends to the Underworld; She travels the ways of this realm, embracing its mysteries and suffering its trials; She dies to Her previous life; and then She is reborn and returns to the land above, transformed into Her full maturity and powers.
Posted on:  Feb 27, 2021 @ 19:04 Posted in:  Sabbats
Take a moment to step outside your door. Open your senses wide; drink in the light, colors, textures, sounds and smells of the natural elements that surround you; let these sensual encounters seep into your skin, down through your flesh and bones, into the very core of your being. You’re home, here amidst the physical wonders and swirling energies of the natural realm, here on this green and blue jewel of Earth as it spins and cycles its way through the infinite Cosmos.
Close your eyes and place your hands on your belly; track your inhalation, letting it draw your awareness into the depth of your inner landscape. Empty your mind; relax your body; be with yourself, still, silent, at ease. You’re home, here amidst the physical wonders and swirling energies that are you, here rooted in the beauty and gifts of your Deep Self and authentic humanity, a unique-in-all-the-Universe being, spinning and cycling your way through your one, precious life.
With a soft, unfocused gaze, once again take in the surrounding landscape. On your exhalation, share a bit of your Deep Self essence with the outer world; on your inhalation, draw in the energies of sun, earth, wind and wild, green-growing things, and sense them infuse and inform your inner world. Breath in, breath out, slow, sweet, steady. You’re home, here amidst the love and rightness of this communion, within and without, between your Deep Self and Nature, spinning and cycling together through the seasons of light and dark, life and death, and joy and sorrow.
These primal, essential connections are always present; you’re already home. Your journey of soul, at its core, is about remembering, reclaiming and living, ever more deeply and profoundly, this simple, powerful truth. And this process is an unfolding journey that begins anew with every breath, every step, every season and every cycle, in the big and small miracles that mark your healing and personal growth, and bring positive, live-affirming change to the greater world.
Breathe deep and feel your feet upon the ancient pathway of the Goddess. Look behind you and bear witness to your travels through one cycle of the Wheel of the Year, across its seasons of darkness, death, light, life, joy and sorrow — engaging the soul lessons ripe for you at this time, renewing your primal relationship with Nature, and the Gods and Goddesses, and acquiring the knowledge and skills that facilitate your spiritual pathwork. You’ve walked this ancient path in your own way, following where your Deep Self and life have led you.
You’re not the same person you were at the beginning of this journey; you’ve become someone new, and this new isn’t some ideal, perfected state, but a deeper, more present and beautiful you. No matter how profoundly you’ve changed or how messy your life still feels, love and embrace yourself as you are right now, honor the hard, hard work you’ve done, both the struggles and positive changes, and savor this sweet moment and the goodness that is your life.
And once more, you’ll return to the core themes of your soul work and life story, and their reflections in your pathwork of beauty and wounding. Though it may sometimes seem like you’re treading over old, familiar ground and issues, know you follow a spiral path that will lead you deeper into the layers and complexities of your soul work, for as long as is needed for you to reap its gifts of healing and transformation.
Excerpt from the Path of She Book of Sabbats. Available in paperback and e-book at the Path Store.
The Path of She Book of Sabbats takes you on a soulful journey through the seasons, with Nature and the Gods and Goddesses as your guides. Connect your spiritual path with the energy of the Earth through teachings, guided meditations and pathwork exercises, and explore your soul’s journey through its seasons of light, dark, life, death, joy and sorrow. Embrace the powerful, essential work of transforming your life.
Artwork by SergeyDemidov.deviantart.com
Posted on:  Sep 17, 2016 @ 10:00 Posted in:  Sabbats
In the fall season, Nature leaves behind the powers of light, drawing inward to stillness and the sacred dark of Mother Earth, where the sleeping potential of new life resides.
So too your spiritual journey calls you inward to quiet and reflection, compelling you to seek within the secret desires, dormant gifts and lost stories of your inner sacred dark where your sleeping potential resides. New beginnings await you in the sacred dark.
Here are four lessons to deepen your spiritual work in the fall season.
1. Step beyond the world you know, and turn your awareness toward the unknown of the sacred dark.
Commit to travel the deepest roots of your spiritual journey. Call up your courage and determination. Lessen your grip on the things you hold true and dear. Open to the mysteries of your inner sacred dark, and let them guide your spiritual work.
2. What you hunger for waits for you in the sacred dark.
Heed your soul’s hunger to seek out your greater becoming. Whatever you truly need to be whole waits for you in the sacred dark of your inner landscape. Here you can discover and reclaim the lost, precious parts of yourself that can nourish your soul and make your life anew.
3. Suffering and sacrifice are integral parts of your spiritual work.
Don’t expect your spiritual work to be pretty or easy. Honor the lessons and experiences that come to you, especially those that challenge you the most. Know that this is how life is meant to teach and grow you. Great beauty, wisdom and resilience emerge from the depth of your struggles.
4. It’s the journey itself that transforms you.
You grow and mature by consciously engaging your life experiences, both the positive and negative. It’s this very toil of sweat and soul that changes you. Life, with its joys and sorrows, is the crucible of your greater becoming.
Are you ready to deepen your spiritual journey?
Let The Path of She Book of Sabbat: A Journey of Soul Through the Seasons transform your life through teachings, guided meditations and pathwork exercises that reconnect you with the seasonal energies of the Earth, the mysteries of the Goddess, and the deepest roots of your life’s purpose and story.
The Fall season is the perfect time to start your journey: to step beyond the world you know, heed your soul’s hunger, and discover the new beginnings that await you in the sacred dark.