Hello, dear readers and my dear sisters. A belated Happy New Year to you all. I hope life is treating you well, and if not, feel embraced by unconditional love. I send it to you daily.
In the continuation of my journey of discovery, we have now reached my thirties. I am incredibly grateful for your company. My thirties coincide with the new millennium and 9/11 is at the beginning of it. After years of hope for more peace and for humankind to stick together, I found instead, fear and resentment of each other rose again. Maybe that was the reason why my spiritual journey started in earnest.
To begin, I was living in the north of Germany. In the latter part of my thirties, I moved to the UK. But while in North Germany, I met a volunteer for the Protestant church who was involved with feminist theology. She opened up a whole new view of the Bible and how I would view God.
It was exhilarating to explore the Old Testament, which offered so many images to relate to the higher power. For example, Isiah 66, v. 13, describes God as a mother who comforts us. I knew this verse because someone gave it to me when my mother died, but I never saw it as an image of the female part of God. I never realised that there was a female part of God, and it made my mind spin with the possibilities.
There are also many verses that compare God to animals like Deuteronomy 32: v. 11-12. It speaks of God as an eagle that protects its young. It dawned on me; there must be more than one way of seeing God if the Bible offers these images. Later, I realised that they viewed the holy spirit as the female part of God.
I pondered these ideas and remembered my research into other religions. The claim of Abrahamic faiths that there is only one god started to look more unlikely to me than it already did. Along the way, I decided that I believed in a higher power which I call spirit. However, what we commonly call “God” is just one form of spirit.
One incident at the beginning of my thirties also made me explore more “new age” ideas. In Germany, you can have a spa stay partly paid for by the health system. The idea behind it is that you stay healthier and work better if you feel well.
I took advantage of this option and stayed on an island called Borkum for about three weeks in December 2000. I had to pay for my travel, accommodation, and food, but the health insurance offered treatments like massages, mud baths, and sometimes therapy.
I stayed in a youth hostel as that was all I could afford, but I met an interesting mix of people there. One day I took a walk with a lady, and we started talking about spirituality. She mentioned that I had a dazzling aura. I must have looked rather puzzled, because she explained what an aura was to me. She was astonished that I wasn’t able to see auras. She tried to help me learn to see auras, but I never could. I tried to view auras over several years but still cannot see them.
However, this conversation opened up my interest in chakras, auras, and our spiritual bodies. This was just at the beginning of when the Internet became accessible, so my sources were limited. Thank goodness for libraries which allowed me to read up on the topics.
Two books were especially influential to me. One was Julia Cameron’s “The Artist’s Way.”
The other was Clarissa Pinkola-Estes’s “Women who run with wolves”. Two friends suggested them to me, and I will be grateful for them for the rest of my life.
For those who do not know: Julia Cameron’s “The Artist’s Way” is an 8-week course to activate your artistic side which enables you to create daily. Her idea is that we are born to be creators, but not necessarily as painters or musicians. Gardening is an act of creation, as you create a beautiful or practical garden. She encourages you to explore what you desire and then, go for it.
In her opinion, many illnesses of today’s people stem from the lack of acting on one’s creative urges. Her book explores why we think writing, drawing, dancing, or singing is not as important as earning money with a day job.
And, no, she doesn’t say it’s necessary to give up your day job to become an artist. She encourages you to integrate creativity in your daily life, be it as a hobby or as a career.
She also believes creativity is a spiritual activity and that a higher power is guiding our creations if we allow ourselves to listen to the messages. I have read this book several times and followed her exercises, and it helped me to take my poetry writing and blogging more seriously. It freed me up to be who I am, and not who I think I have to be, even though this is an ongoing process.
Storyteller and psychoanalyst Clarissa Pinkola-Estes explores subconscious blockages in women via fairy tales from all over the world in “Women Who Run with Wolves.”
She explains how we’ve been taught that women’s actions and thinking are inferior to men’s. Coming from the perspective of Jungian psychology, she works with archetypes and introduces us to the “Wild Woman” archetype.
The wild woman in us relates to our instincts and archetypal knowledge. In her opinion, women’s instincts need to heal, and once they have taken their rightful place in our consciousness, they never lead us wrong.
My experience is that she is right. There is an inherent knowledge inside of me that often points me along the right path, but it can’t be explained logically. When I follow this advice, I never fail. Listening to that voice is difficult because we’ve all grown up in a world that only believes in logic.
Her point of view about life helped me to remember how my mother and grandmother worked with herbs. In my family, we healed ailments by using herbal teas and tinctures. Archetypes are ancient knowledge, and so is herbal healing and healing with essential oils.
I suspect another reason this resonated with me was because “normal” anti-depressants didn’t seem to work for me. Even though I tried them over several months, they made my depression worse instead of better. So, I explored herbal remedies that could help with my condition.
Herbal healing methods are more accepted by German medical professions than in other countries, which meant that there was more information available to me. That made my herbal experimentation easier to try. I could find what worked best for me.
Besides learning more about spirituality and healing, I also tried to develop a regular spiritual practice. I continued to meditate. I also attended church even though I still asked the Tarot for guidance.
As much as I tried, I never could keep a daily practice. I started and stopped morning meditation; I started and stopped regular tarot readings; and I started and stopped writing Julia Cameron’s Morning Pages. There was an inner block that went up after a little while, and I just could not get over it. My suspicion now is that this response was because of my mental health.
Yet, by the end of the decade, I’d developed some minor knowledge of the different spiritual paths, the different healing paths available to me, and the acceptance that life wasn’t only what science described.
Now, I realized that I hadn’t developed enough confidence in myself to be open about my beliefs. All my searching was still very private. I kept hearing that inner voice telling me I was here for a reason. Which reason, I could not figure out.
Thanks very much for coming with me on this journey of a lifetime. Something has changed for me the last couple of months. I see things clearer and seem to know how to proceed, because I could write about my life for the Sisters of the Fey.
In February, we’ll reach my latest decade. May you be blessed in the coming weeks and find what you need.