I am getting ready to restructure my offerings through service, to redesign and repurpose my site and all that I offer. I am moving my focus from doing things for others, like healing, to giving people the means to find their own truth, their own journey and healing. This allows me to stay in my own centre and not to be giving away my light, which is not helping others and it’s not helping me. It’s a part of the process of growth and enlightened awareness that is me unfolding and expressing my truth, which is love, in service to the divine source.
You are going to see an entire restructure and redevelopment of this site, the removal of my current offerings and a whole new way of offering support to others. The new offerings will be empowering those who approach them.
I don’t know how soon this is going to be happening. I’m at a busy time in my life, well into moving house now, most of my belongings are packed away with the exception of a bare minimum. This move is a huge change for me and my husband, we are both stepping out into the world on our own and that is an emotional rollercoaster that impacts us every day. There is the waiting, we are expecting to move late April or May, which is not so far but feels like forever away. And with all this going on, I am about to embark on a journey to develop my talents and gifts as a means to offer financial independence.
There is a whole conversation that could be had here about the ethics of earning an income through a spiritual calling. There are those who voice that these are gifts given to us by spirit and we should not earn money, should not take money for this. There are a number of ways of looking at this. Firstly, to understand the energy of money, is it the root of all evil? What kind of judgements do we take to money and are they truly the case? Money is a means of exchange, albeit one that our society is focused around, it is simply a concept that allows us to convert our skills into a means to acquire whatever we need to survive and thrive. Why make it more than that? Why create a disassociation that leads to lack consciousness, that causes shame or unworthiness? Why should we feel bad for being paid for something that we put ourselves into and that is worth having? Should spiritual people and healers be working for nothing? To be honest, for several decades, I have been. Now, I’m in a situation where I have little income, I simply can’t survive on my £220 a month pension. It’s just not going to work out unless I go back to a day job, working for someone else, giving all my energy to what doesn’t turn me on anymore and isn’t my authentic truth. Or, I find a way to make my gifts and spiritual calling a possibility for earning a living as well as a life.
Whatever we give, there needs to be an exchange of energy and I’ve asked people to give an offering to nature, if nothing else, and yet, I’m sensing this hasn’t always happened and that there’s been a diminished attitude towards the value of what was offered. I value what I offer greatly. I put a huge amount of myself, my energy and love into every offering. I don’t see how it’s less worthy of a monetary exchange than a haircut, a shopping trolley of groceries, having a car serviced or any other monetary exchange that we would never question. What I offer is to be a conduit for healing, the transformation of the deepest of wounds, the removal or easing of physical ailments. It is the connection we can make with our soul, the empowerment of our truth, bringing ourselves back to ourselves. It is love in action. If that isn’t worth something, I don’t know what is.
Is this something of a rant on the subject of taking money for my spiritual gifts? Yes, I guess that’s what just happened. Is it coming from inside of me? Yes, I see that and accept it is. I am working it out, I have been affected by people’s attitudes to this but the main struggle is with myself. The truth is, they may be my gifts but I still had to work hard, practice, study and apply myself, paying out for courses and doing the work. And with dyspraxia that’s not always been easy.
On the one hand, I have to take money now and feel like I have a valid right to value myself and accept the exchange for what I give out, but on the other, I’m still struggling with doing so. Now, I’m living on the border of having little choice. I’ve been approached by Business Wales and offered support, business training, a mentor and business advisor, all for free, but I’m keenly feeling the conflict between the intuitive flow of allowing my service to unfold through the guidance of my spiritual support team versus making some solid business decisions to support my ability to survive, which calls for a more product-based consumer consciousness. Are you a spiritual practitioner who has gone through similar?
I guess now, I have to do both, listen to my business advisor and, if it’s not feeling comfortable, take it to my guides and soul for final say. I sense there may be a few sticky moments with my advisor, we shall have to see. One step at a time.
Sheela Na Gig is my personal favourite image of Goddess energy, she is so powerful. She is the Challenger Goddess, the Wise Woman, the Ego-Eater, the one from whose womb all things are born. To me, she is a symbol for one of the ultimate, ultimate, most powerful and most ancient of all Goddess archetypes, because she is directly connected to the original Creator Deity.
As would be expected for such a significant energetic being, she can be found across cultures throughout the World. She is Ishtar, Isis, Hathor, Asherah, Innana, Ceridwen, Hecate and many more kick-ass goddesses.
However, the Goddess I personally connect the most with Sheela Na Gig is the all-powerful Indian Goddess, Kali. Kali is the Hindu Goddess who removes the ego and liberates the soul from the cycle of birth and death. Our egos are worn away by the constant challenges and life lessons she kindly puts in our path, for every adversity is an opportunity to grow in disguise.
‘Sheela’ is Irish medieval slang for ‘woman’ and ‘Gig’ for ‘vagina’ so her name is simply a colloquial description of her appearance. She is depicted as a thin, hag-like figure with sagging breasts and protruding ribs. She is the original pre-male Creator of Everything with a capital E. Her womb is the void from which light and all-that-is emerges. Her womb is the Underworld.
Sheela Na Gig appeared in Britain and Ireland as stone carvings, predominantly on churches, during medieval times. Stone masons were amongst the most travelled, learned and respected people of the time, their skills being highly prized and sought after. The resulting power and influence of the Master masons led to the Masonic movement.
In medieval times, stone masons travelled across Europe to the Middle East and beyond, wherever great cathedrals and other magnificent buildings were being erected, they went. They saw and heard so much more than most other folk and were surely fascinated with and influenced by the stone carvings they visited in countries such as Persia and India. When I think of the remarkable similarities between Kali and Sheela Na Gig, I find it easy to imagine that the masons who first carved Sheela in Britain had known the stories and symbolism of Ishtar and Kali and others and seen their representations in distant lands.
Imagine the pleasure of returning to one’s homeland with a new symbolic image and seeing the motif adopted by fellow masons. Quite possibly, many images, maybe even the Green Man, came about through this means. The Rosslyn Chapel in Scotland, dated 1446, is richly carved by some of the most proficient masons of the time and depicts plants and animals that could never have been known by masons who did not travel far and wide.
Sheela Na Gig is represented as skeletal, either with sagging breasts or without them altogether. Clearly, Sheela is not a rounded, fecund earth mother Goddess-figure symbolising fertility. Additionally, a number of medieval Sheelas are carved with a protruding tongue, just like Kali. The tongue is said by some to symbolise a cannibalistic bent, but from a spiritual perspective this implies that the Sheela/Kali Goddess-archetype does not eat people but their egos, in other words, she challenges us to break down our egos and helps us develop our spiritual energies further and further as we strive towards our highest potential.
Sheela’s dramatic presentation of her vagina as if it is a huge gaping cave makes her womb suggestive of the caves and chambered cairns used by Paleolithic, Mesolithic and Neolithic shamans for altered state journeys and communication with the spirits, ancestors and the Goddess. Such cavernous places are connected to the womb of the Creator Goddess, the void from which all life flows. By opening her labia she is inviting us into the void, the place of mystery where, if we dare go, our sense of self is broken down and destroyed so that we ‘die’ and can be re-born anew. Here is the ego-eating theme but the genitals become the mouth; mouth of the cave, doorway and devouring orifice. The idea of female genitals as a mouth is well documented and prevalent, especially in Eastern symbolism. Ceridwen’s cauldron carries the same symbolic message, it is a large cave-like bowl that contains wisdom and inspiration.
The prevalence of entering deep dark places to attain wisdom and inspiration is cross-cultural. In Delphi, (the word ‘Delphi’ is from the root word for ‘womb’), the oracle’s sanctuary was originally a site sacred to Goddess Gaea. The oracle/priestess sat on a three-legged seat over a great chasm stretching deep into the earth. The oracle’s wisdom and insights thus came to her and were uttered. Ceridwen’s cauldron makes a very good symbol for the relationship between the Goddess, the Underworld and the acquiring of wisdom and inspiration. Sheela’s vagina is doing the same job. By pulling open her labia with her direct, challenging stare and wry smile she is saying “Come inside, if you dare!”
Here is a doorway through which Sheela Na Gig is inviting us to symbolically enter, so that we can, as it says above the temple doorway at Delphi, “Know Thyself” by entering the darkest, deepest recesses of the void to face our fears, face our Self.
So, how do we work with this Divine Challenger? It is a very brave soul who goes looking for her! But sometimes, she comes looking for us. My own relationship with her started when rather strange and challenging changes occurred in my body. I did not realise straight away but soon it was clear, I had hit the menopause, or more precisely, the peri-menopause. All of a sudden, Sheela Na Gig, her energies and insights, seemed to be the most pertinent of Goddess energies for me to work with.
The menopause, after all, is a natural bodily process and not the physical illness it can feel like. The body is going through a transition which causes all sorts of strange sensations and symptomology. And it can occur, as it did for me, just at a time when everything seems more stable and ‘sorted’ than ever before in our lives. We are feeling good about ourselves, we have got our life in a good place, all is going rather well, and then “Bam!” there we are struggling with all manner of difficulties affecting our health alongside our usual daily demands such as work, family, responsibilities and commitments.
I won’t pretend I always managed my own changes serenely, those who know me know otherwise. But who knows how tough it could have been without my spiritual filter to help me process and focus it? One of my early actions was to get a tattoo, seen above. My first and only (so far), it is of Kali Na Gig, my version of Sheela Na Gig that incorporates Kali’s characteristics. She is the Goddess that presented for me personally at that time. I saw the tattoo as a distinct marking of the transformative process I was going through, a way of embracing her intrusion into my life.
Working with Kali Na Gig helped me to embrace the positive elements of the process of change, for, despite the chaos and difficult symptoms, I also had very lucid moments of ‘awakeness’ when I was more in touch with my inner knowing than ever before. Although I could become depressed or anxious, I could also feel as awake, alive and empowered as never before. What a roller-coaster it was! These days, for the most part that time is passed,
In the periphery of my inner vision I see her there with me from time to time, smiling her wry smile, staring straight into my soul with her warm but testing eyes. Actually, it’s not as scary as it sounds, more reassuring. I trust her not to give me more than I can take, even though she takes me right to the edge and sometimes even dangles me over it, shaking me to the bones at the same time!
She reminds me that nothing is forever, it will change, I will change. She teaches me to see and live that another way; “I WILL change!” That is, I use my will to make things change.
So, how do we work with Sheela or Kali Na Gig? Well, it seems all we need do is welcome her, embrace her and the rest just happens.