**Warning - long post**
I arrived at the retreat centre alive, alight and flying. Ibiza and Jersey had been overwhelming in the most positive ways but as soon as I returned on English soil I realised I hadn't grounded and could not feel the presence of my body. Energy was swirling within and my brain couldn't settle - I was unable to concentrate on the moment and be fully present. The vessel I had been given in this lifetime felt unable to contain me.
I had so much to integrate from the festival, travelling, yoga, the space I had given myself, the ayahuasca and Ibiza sun. I also had so much to complete as the next stages of my journey unfolded and my manifestations were in harvest. I jumped from one situation to the next in the most unbalanced and uncoordinated ways, my clumsiness reaching new heights.
I knew I needed to retreat, to come back within, to fully centre in on the new energies and realisations I was embodying and integrating. I was so grateful that I had booked the Shamanic weekend months in advance so I could integrate my new world order.
The first night we drank mugwort under the autumnal dark moon beside the fire, all of us contemplating the weekend ahead. As I sat, still vibrating with ayahuasca, I relished the union of her and mugwort in my veins. The darkness of the sky settled and the stars came out of play, in silence I watched the fire lick the air and reach out to warm my body.
I was ready for cacao. I needed her to help me start the work.
I told the Shaman that my intention was to ground myself after the onslaught of last month and to figure out what to do with the new in my life.
The card I received was 'Thunderbolt' - the picture of someone meditating as the world around them experienced destruction. I could see that was me watching my world completely sweep itself into the new but that in order to benefit I needed to remain calm.
The Shaman had used water that had been steeped in hawthorn and sunlight and mixed this in the with Shamanic dose of cacao. Somehow the hawthorn took the slight edge of bitterness away. Both plant medicines work on the heart and the healing of emotional wounds and somehow I felt there was still some healing I needed to achieve in order to fully take advantage of the changes life was throwing my way. I was able to drink more than I was used to. I drank my fill and lay down.
Old Mother Cacao appeared and I said, 'I have met a man and I don't know what to do.'
'Darling, stay strong. You are a woman now and in the last year and a half have a learned a new way of relating. Remain steadfastly firm in your womanhood. You come from a long line of woman who were very strong, but also limited by the men in their lives. In this lifetime, you are here to break that cycle. It is no coincidence that you and your sisters embody an independence the women in bloodline could have only wished for. You are to be inter-dependent, not dependent. He is a piece of your puzzle. We brought him to you because he could be a stable foundation from which you spring from and grow. You will push each other on to new paths.'
Settled in the peaceful consistency of singledom, I had become used to independence, to the joys of living and loving myself alone. The predictability and effortlessness of waking up and being with myself felt like a natural state of being and suddenly life decided to throw me this lion maned curveball. This man had left spasmodic disturbances in his wake and rearranged a new world order for me to continuously practice my continued journey of surrender. He excites and frightens me at the same time and this, spinning with the work ayahuasca has initiated within me, I felt at a loss with how to embody the new.
'Your gift was your heartbreak, in that space you not only survived but you flourished. Use it to remind you that you will continue to grow and learn, even in the most adverse circumstances. There is no need to be afraid - even if this relationship fell apart it would be a gift for your growth. You have nothing to fear from this man - only more lessons to learn. Give each other the gift of time and allow the path to open up naturally. Do not force anything - everything will be okay even when you think it's not.'
'Realise what you want. But don't forget your path.'
Ayahuasca had summarised my path and called me a Shamanic Yogini, a description that encapsulated both the discipline and wildness within. She had told me that I am not to be defined by any relationship, again Old Mother Cacao said to me.
'Darling, you will be a partner and a mother, but first and foremost you are a Shaman and you will follow that path always, it is innate within you. You will open your retreat centre and provide sanctuary for others who are in need of space. You have come so far and embodied so much, the universe can see that you are working hard - the tools for what you want to achieve are already within.'
Old Mother Cacao then transformed into Maestra Ynez, one of the Mamitas from my Ayahuasca ceremonies. She sat in front of me with her pipe and blew smoke around and all over me. I sat in a cloud of tobacco and was told that I am protected.
'Smudge yourself regularly. You are very open right now. Protect yourself.'
I felt such all consuming love... such metta for myself, the Mamitas, this man, my people and for the Shaman. My heart opened and bloomed with such intensity I felt tears spring and flow. I saw my women around me, my sisterhood, and felt blessed with their strength and love. I realised how they reinforced and supported my path as we walked together towards surrender.
Then a memory of waking up after my ayahuasca ceremony appeared. Ape, Marie and I woke up at the same time. We looked at each other, smiled and then started laughing together. We all held hands and in that moment I realised we are all family.
My future self came to me - she was calm and stable. She said to me, 'Don't worry, darling. Remain strong and in your truth. You are in flow and life will happen.'
You can find more adventures in Shamanism here: Inner Shaman Adventures
Cacao Ceremonies facilitated by Rebekah Shaman
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