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Embodied Patriarchy

This is the first time in what feels like forever that I have felt inspired, and I mean, like, really fucking inspired to write.  Thank Goddess!  And you will never guess who it is that is inspiring me…yep, that dude who runs our country.  I don’t really like to say his name, as that is one way that we give it power.  Though truth be told, I personally feel that his being there is good for all of us as it stirs it all up and helps us to see what we need to see.  That and I absolutely 100% trust in the absolute perfection of everything.  It is no accident that we are where we are today and this is all part of our process.  So in some regards it seems silly that I feel better not letting his name pass between my lips, but yeah – the energy of it and all.  Ah well, interesting creatures we are with very interesting ways about us.  Despite my not offering any of my energy to his name though, apparently that does not stop him from entering my dreams.  And extremely clearly and vividly.  Strange! 

A little herstory and context for you all:  I have been looking forward to Mars going retrograde for some months now.  I did a very powerful writing magick ritual that spanned the entirety of the Venus retrograde with amazing results – every morning I wrote about my vision for the future and all that was keeping me from living it and just going for it.  It got into all sorts of fucked up and long-held, mostly unconscious belief systems, the majority of which stemmed from growing up in this patriarchal, capitalistic, Christian-based society that is America.  I will not get too far into the weeds with that one right now, but suffice it to say that it was a very powerful practice and I feel I purged and released a ton of crap and really stepped much more fully into my Divine Feminine power through all of it.  Thank you Venus!  And thank you to my favorite astrologer, Dreamy, for recommending such a meaningful practice.  Amazing!  So, it was so powerful (I love using that word) that I got excited to utilize the Mars retrograde period to take a serious deep dive into Divine Masculine energies and, even more importantly, the shadow side of Divine Masculine – how does it show up in me, where am I imbalanced, how has society contributed, how can I heal, what needs to be purged and released, what does Divine Masculine even look like, how can it express in me? 

Mars, which is going retrograde in its home sign of Aries as of September 9, 2020, represents masculine energies, which are present in each and every one of us, to some extent or another.  We are all made up of both feminine and masculine energies, regardless of which gender we choose to or choose not to express as.  Because Mars is in its home sign, it is especially powerful and when it goes retrograde, it can be even more so for us – and the focus can be more internal when it is retrograde, hence my wanting to take advantage of this powerful energy to do some deep diving into how this energy expresses in me – and I realize that I am quite imbalanced and that I have plenty of unhealthy masculine to work with here.  I don’t think it is easy to escape this conundrum growing up in the patriarchy.  I have very much shut down my Divine Feminine and focused too heavily on masculine, as that is what is rewarded, supported, and encouraged in America – and the majority of the world.  I often use the word society when I speak of the patriarchy, but it really is much of the world that is dominated by this patriarchal way of thinking and being.

So, last night, the eve of Mars going retrograde, I had a crazy vivid dream of hanging out with Dude Who Shall Remain Nameless, driving in his fancy car, feeling sleazy and manipulative, like I was just there to get something out of the situation – esteem, fame, money, attention, notoriety, something – and we ended up in a strip club and I was showing off that I was with this famous person and was thinking I was cool somehow and important, and then he was hitting on other women and I could tell just how unimportant I was and that I was nothing special and I was only wanted for one thing – and then he snuck out and ditched me and I was left feeling used and like an idiot.  It was all very strange and so very vivid.

I woke up from all of that in a curious state contemplating what it all might mean and especially intrigued as this dude is the epitome of unhealthy masculine and the way I was showing up in the dream was a heck of a lot of my own unhealthy masculine and totally unhealthy feminine.  It all felt very intentional as I was getting ready to embark on my Mars retrograde morning writing magick.  No lack of material for my practice, that’s for sure! 

So as I settled back into my bed to write, now with my morning green tea in hand, I started pondering on the dream and reflecting on possible interpretations.  I mentioned in my first post, but don’t believe I’ve referred to it again since, that my current profession entails sex work.  As such, given that the dream ended up at a strip club, I started looking at how unhealthy masculine and feminine show up in what I do for a living and how it can be manipulative, greedy, dishonest, disconnected, not heart-based, addictive, compulsive, a type of conquest, a way to fill the void, unconscious, etc.  I question this sometimes and look at my motivations and my intentions – and sometimes I feel like my main motivating factor is money and that I am just in it for the money and that I am taking advantage of men and their need for connection.  As I started going there this morning and wondering if I was just a horrible, greedy, manipulative person, I started thinking on it further. I very quickly started looking at how much thought and care I bring to my sessions and how much I actually offer my clients.  At the same time, I continued to reflect on the fact that if I wasn’t getting paid, I would not be there – which very quickly led me to contemplate others in helping or service-oriented professions: doctors, therapists, life-coaches, healers, etc. who are also supporting people and are being well-compensated for their time, skill, and expertise, with nobody questioning it or thinking it strange.  We aren’t shaming them for charging money for their services and we certainly don’t expect them to offer them for free.  My sessions can quite easily entail a bit of all of what they offer – health advice, life-coaching, therapy, connection, and mind-blowing pleasure, affection, and beauty on top of all of that!  Not to mention the years of skill and expertise I bring to the table.  Of course I should be well-compensated for what I am offering and I absolutely should not have any guilt or shame around that! 

It quickly became apparent that that is part of the patriarchal bullshit that I’ve inherited and taken deeply into my mind and body (no pun intended!).  I offer a beautiful, thoughtful and completely valid service that is much-needed by many people.  There have been plenty of times in my career that I am fully onboard with this mentality and absolutely confident about what I do and what I offer.  At other times, I let the patriarchy and societal norms creep in to make me feel less than and question what I am doing.  It takes a great deal of work and consciousness to keep in alignment with the beauty and positivity of the service that I provide – and why I am so well compensated for it.  And I feel worthy of that compensation! 

I recently got married to the absolute love of my life (many lifetimes actually, but I won’t get into all of that right now!) and that has brought about some challenges in regard to what I do for a living.  Up until a year ago, I was pretty much single so was free to live my life in way that didn’t need to align with somebody else’s life, their thoughts, feelings, emotions, experiences, etc.  I don’t probably need to tell you that my current profession can be a bit of challenge to work with in a new relationship and a new marriage, given the overarching prevalence and belief system that monogamy is the desired way to be and the desired way to do relationship.  We’ve all pretty fully embodied that unrealistic and debilitating beast.  Despite desiring to feel differently, my husband has quite an issue with my spending time with other men.  It has gotten much easier as we have gone along, but this shit runs deep and it just isn’t easy to change these long-held belief systems – and truth be told, he would really prefer not to have to.  But he loves me and there is no doubt in the cosmos that we are supposed to be together, so this is what we are working with.  This is a very rich and complex topic that I think would be best saved for a different post (or many different posts actually!), but I wanted to give a bit of context for the next thing I’m getting ready to explore.  

I mentioned this patriarchal, Christian guilt and shame that I have embodied and work with very consistently and consciously (mostly) to varying degrees.  Each time I feel I have hit a new level of understanding and healing and releasing, some new crap eventually surfaces that I get to start looking at and working with.  That is what is happening right now.  Over the past year, I have had a number of bouts with UTIs and yeast infections (the yeast infections are unusual for me) and have just come out the other side of another round of it.  I had the immense pleasure of meeting with a psychic yesterday and it occurred to me to ask about it, as she was in direct communication with my guides and I was getting such excellent advice and feedback from them.  What they said really quite shocked me, as it had nothing to do with the guilt and shame and punishment mentality that I struggle with from time to time – like are my yeast infections and UTIs punishment for what I’m doing, as we tend to take on this type of mentality from the religious patriarchy.  But no, what they said was that the energy was not mine and that it carried over from my biological mother somehow and that there was a pattern to it and to look at what was going on for me when these flare up and to go back to my childhood. 

As I’ve been thinking back on it and especially as it has flared up especially badly over the past year, I am feeling that it was guilt and shame that she carried with her and passed on to me in the womb.  [Side note here: my biological mother put me up for adoption after trying to hide her pregnancy the whole way through so that her mother would not make her keep me.]  So yeah, guilt and shame and worthiness.  Definitely tied up in sexuality.  I’m realizing, as I look back, that it is when I am not in alignment with my goodness and feeling confident about my career and am letting the societal norms creep in and tell me I am a bad person – that is when my UTIs and yeast infections creep in.  They got horrible shortly after I met my husband as that was a real challenge for me and I seriously had to struggle to stand strong in my power and hold to my truth and what I know is right for me – that what I do for a profession is a beautiful, nourishing, enriching service that is much needed and is something I am very grateful to be able to offer people – and what’s more is that I very much enjoy what I do, which is also very hard for people to comprehend.  Each time I have struggled over the past year is when this has felt challenged and when I have felt I had to defend myself and my truth – and when I felt guilty for enjoying myself.  My body just shuts down and embodies this fucked up mentality of guilt and shame.  I’m excited to continue to work with all of this and do some very conscious releasing of these energies via ritual and energy work – and I continue to work with the stones too which are amazing little allies! [see Gemstones for Healing post]

It has been so empowering to have all of these realizations and to see the patterns and become aware of what is happening at a much deeper level.  Like seriously wow.  Feels especially inspiring to share it with you all too.  Loving this!  And we are only one day into the Mars retrograde.  Hell yeah!  I knew this was going to be some powerful energy to work with.  Definitely unpacking some unhealthy masculine patterns and behaviors!!! 

Thank you for reading and for witnessing part of my journey.  Feels so nice to share!

Love and light to you all!  And do please share your comments if this has stirred anything up or inspired anything for you.  Any plans for your own Mars retrograde magick?

Love ~ Saidi

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Violence Against Women as Intergenerational Trauma

Hi all!  So nice to be posting here again – finally.  I have no idea why such stagnation, but my writing simply has not been flowing in a very cohesive manner, so I’ve not been posting.  I started out with such gumption and gung-ho.  What the hell happened?  Argh.  I loathe the stagnation that plagues me at times, but I try to just work with it and not let it get the best of me – especially when we are in such strange times.  Just trying to let it flow where it needs to.  Not all areas of my life have been stagnant however and I’ve actually been experiencing great flow and movement in some regards, so I try to simply appreciate that and recognize where my energy is being called. 

I am currently in a master’s program and  I do believe an entire semester has come and gone since my last post here.  Crazy!  Where does the time go?  I’m feeling pretty excited to share with you a final paper I just completed for my course, as it feels especially relevant during these times and for this blog.  It is an academic paper, but I have tried to reformat it a bit better for this blog and have removed all the citations (though if anybody is interested in them, please shoot me an email and I can share them with you).  So if this sounds a bit academic for a blog, you will know why!  I did not want to reinvent the wheel and rewrite the whole thing in more appropriate blog style – so you are getting it pretty much the way I wrote it for university – with theory and all!  Do feel free to comment, like, share your thoughts, etc.  Oh – and for those of you interested, I received a grade of 97.5% for my efforts here.  Yay!

The topic of my paper is violence against women and the resulting intergenerational trauma that we are all deeply affected by.  I always attempt to bring my spiritual practice and mindset to my academic pursuits, as oftentimes I feel the academic world is seriously lacking in the spiritual and feminine qualities of our human experience, which is a large part of what has led to the extreme imbalance of masculine and feminine energies – too much focus on facts, numbers, and what can be “proven,” with a huge disregard to intuition, feeling, magick, and spirit.   I do my part to bring it back into balance in whatever way I can.  In sharing this here with you all, it is my intention to bring more awareness to this imbalance and to offer suggestions that will aid in the healing.  It feels especially important to me to bring BALANCE – not to swing too far in the opposite direction, as some people feel called to a matriarchy to counter the patriarchy.  My passion is in promoting balance, harmony, and union between Divine Feminine and Divine Masculine energies, not promoting one at the expense of the other.  That is how we got ourselves into this mess and swinging the opposite direction will only cause further heartache, separation, and turmoil!  No thank you! 

So, without further ado, here it is…  

Abstract

Violence has been perpetrated against women for the past few thousand years in the forms of physical, sexual, psychological, emotional, and spiritual abuse.  This abuse has been suffered at the hands of family members, intimate partners, strangers, and the systems put in place by governments and religions.  The extent of the violence and oppression has far-reaching consequences not only for women, but for men as well.  This paper explores the factors contributing to, as well as the impact of, intergenerational trauma, as experienced by women, but especially as it relates to society as a whole, as women are the ones giving birth to both males and females.   Intergenerational trauma  is viewed from three lenses: Bronfenbrenner’s Ecological Systems Theory of Development aids in understanding the various systems and elements of violence at play; shamanism enriches our understanding of intergenerational trauma; and direct realization spiritual traditions further enhance our understanding of how violence against women has created the experience of intergenerational trauma for all members of society.

Introduction

The following paper explores the notion that violence perpetrated against women for the past few thousands of years has led to intergenerational trauma that deserves much more research and attention in order to foster healing for both women and men, as well as facilitate much-needed societal change.  Much research has been done on the effects of intergenerational trauma in other populations, but is almost non-existent when it comes to how on-going violence against women is affecting current lived experience, especially in regards to mental health issues, physical health issues, poverty, relationship issues, and spiritual connection.  Intergenerational trauma has deleterious bio-psycho-social-spiritual effects on not only women, but men as well, as women are the ones giving birth to all members of society and it is impossible to have one half of the population dealing with the effects of on-going trauma without the other suffering effects as well.  I believe that through gaining an understanding of how this trauma is passed down through generations of women, a deeper understanding of the how and why to support and heal women (and men) will be gleaned.

Trauma

According to one text book, trauma is an event that “is extremely upsetting, at least temporarily overwhelms [an] individual’s internal resources, and produces lasting psychological effects.”  Abuse, violence, natural disasters, accidents, rape, sex trafficking, torture, assault, war, and murder are some of the major types of trauma a person can experience.  In addition to suffering from these experiences at a personal level, witnessing traumatic events or even learning about them secondhand can also have traumatic effects on an individual.  Some of the effects of experiencing or witnessing trauma include post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression, anxiety, acute stress disorder (ASD), substance use disorders, and a number of other psychiatric disturbances including dissociation, psychosis, and borderline personality disorder.  Not only are these effects detrimental for one’s psychological and emotional well-being, but also have negative repercussions on physical and spiritual health.  A number of risk factors can make one more or less susceptible to trauma responses, female gender being at the top of the list.

Violence

Some definitions of violence limit the term to refer to only such acts that intentionally use physical force to cause harm to a person, while others consider violence to include psychological maltreatment as well, including verbal abuse, threat, harassment, denial of or restriction from resources, and limitations to freedom .  For all intents and purposes, violence in this paper refers to a number of forms of abuse, including physical, psychological, sexual, emotional, and social – most of which are intentional, some of which are not.  While all members of the human race can be affected by these varying forms of violence, this paper focuses on women’s experience of violence.

Violence Against Women

For the past few thousand years, women have been on the receiving end of atrocious acts of violence, usually perpetrated by the hands of men – not only individual men, but also by the men in charge of the numerous systems of society – family, religion, government, medical, and educational systems.  This violence shows up in the form of rape and sexual assault (suffered at the hands of intimate partners, strangers, and/or family or other known acquaintances), domestic and intimate partner abuse (physical, sexual, emotional, or psychological), stalking, femicide, sex trafficking, psychological maltreatment and control tactics, limitations of freedoms and rights, limited access to resources, very little access to power, and very minimal to no control over what happens to their bodies.  Until very recently, women had no right to property, no right to vote, limited access to education, and held no positions of power in our government or in religious institutions.  The issue is extremely complex as these numerous forms of violence intersect and overlap, creating an intricate web of dominance and control over women that they themselves often do not even recognize and even support through their own internalized belief systems.

The violence perpetrated against women is a global issue.  In the United States alone, a rape is reported every 6.2 minutes (keep in mind the amount of unreported rapes is likely to be five times as high); South Africa had an estimated 600,000 rapes in 2013; in America, 11,766 women were the victims of domestic violence homicide from 2001 to 2012; also in the US, in 2010, women soldiers reported 19,000 cases of sexual assault; and “honor killings” and bride-burning continue to this day in South Asia and the Middle East.  According to the Panel on Research on Violence Against Women, National Research Council, American national surveys estimate approximately 2 million women are battered each year by their intimate partners; 3.8 million assaults were sustained by women over the course of 1 year; and 13 to 25% of all U.S. women will be raped at some point in their lives.  Between 2009 and 2011, gender conflict resulted in the deaths of 16,900 women in Brazil.  These are but a few of the many, many statistics out there.

Intergenerational Trauma

The concept of intergenerational trauma is based on the idea that the physical, psychological, emotional, and behavioral effects of trauma can be passed down and carried over from one generation to the next.  Researchers started noticing this phenomenon when studying behaviors of the children and grandchildren of Holocaust survivors.  Historical trauma is another term used to describe this type of on-going trauma as it relates to a specific group of people who share a common experience, such as Black people or Native Americans, or in the case of this paper, women.  One way that trauma may be passed down from generation to generation is that trauma alters a person’s genes, predisposing children to be more sensitive to future traumas or stressful events.  Trauma has been thought to have a number of effects on the physical body, including nervous system diseases, digestive disorders, stroke, cancer, chronic pain, hypertension, and endocrine disorders, all of which may be contributing factors for the change in genetics.

Trauma also has profound effects on the mental health of survivors and may result in a number of psychological ailments including various forms of anxiety, stress, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), acute stress disorder, complicated grief, major depression, dissociation, psychosis, substance abuse disorders, and/or borderline personality disorder.  As with ongoing physical stressors, it is possible that suffering from continued psychological distress might have permanent effects on one’s body, which would in turn be passed on to one’s offspring.  This could be even more so if one is suffering from traumatic experiences and effects while pregnant.  Trauma is also be passed down through behavior – reactions to trauma and subsequent coping mechanisms affect how a child is raised and how it learns to experience the world, as passed down by the parents.

Understanding Intergenerational Trauma – Two Perspectives

Bronfenbrenner’s Ecological Systems Theory of Development

Bronfenbrenner’s Ecological Systems Theory of Development provides context for understanding how various systems interact and intersect with each other to influence, shape, and create an individual’s life experience.  Bronfennbrenner felt that not only is a child influenced by their immediate environment, but also the surrounding environment that they grow up in.  The theory places the individual person at the center of their life, then shows how five systems contribute to that person’s development.  The micro- system is the immediate environment, such as home, school, work, and family; the meso- system highlights the interactions between the parts in the micro- system; the exo- system shows influences between the immediate setting and a setting in which the individual does not have an active role; the macro- system pertains to the larger cultural and social context that the individual lives in; and the chrono- system factors in the role of time – both in the context of the person’s life and in the context of a larger historical consideration .

This theory is especially helpful when trying to gain a comprehensive understanding of all the factors contributing to the various forms of violence against women and how it passes from generation to generation.  The inclusion of the element of time as one of the main systemic influences is especially relevant to intergenerational trauma.  In addition to understanding cause and effect, this theory will also help us gain appreciation of where and how to address this on-going violence, as it is not isolated to one system, but permeates each and every one.

When looking at the micro- system, we consider first gender roles and a female’s experience within her family and school.  In many societies, females are considered inferior to males and simply being born in a female body sets the stage for being treated unjustly (even killed and discarded), with less rights and power in the family than their male counterparts.  From birth, many females are conditioned by their families and school systems to believe their options are limited, that getting married and having children is their duty, that they need to be subservient to men, and that many occupational fields are off-limits to them.  It is here in the micro-system that a female is molded into her gender role and learns what appropriate behavior is for her and what is appropriate for males.

Domestic violence, child abuse, and sexual assault may all be part of a female’s experience and it is in the microsystem where she will start to form her understanding of relationships based on the way her family relates to each other  – is domestic violence present/normalized/acceptable/encouraged?  Is she encouraged to be submissive, polite, dress appropriately, be accommodating to males, keep her emotions in check, be ashamed of her body, and take responsibility for not getting raped?  It is also in this system where boys learn to dominate females, that being hyper-masculine is rewarded, that females are subservient to males, that females who dress a certain way are “asking for it” and are supposed to “give it to them,” and that females are basically sex objects and should stay in their proper place caring for a man.

The mesosystem highlights the interactions between the elements of the microsystem and, for this purpose, we will consider the messages that are exchanged between the parents and the school which support the gender roles and children learning their place in the world.  Again, boys receive messages about what masculinity should look like and girls receive messages about what femininity should look like.  School curriculum is upheld by the relationships between the parents and the schools, further enforcing societal norms and gender roles.  Enforcement comes by means of having to dress a certain “appropriate” way at school; sexual education classes teaching children “appropriate” sexual behavior; rules for how genders are supposed to behave get decided between the various elements.

The exo-system includes a number of different influences that contribute to the ongoing violence against women.  Pornography promotes violence, the domination of women, the inferiority of women, and the hyper-sexualization of women, as well as the hyper-masculinization of men.  Advertising and mass media also perpetuate male dominance, unhealthy hyper-masculine and hyper-feminine gender roles, and the hyper-sexualization of women.  The news media perpetuates the discrediting of women who do speak up against their oppressors, questioning their motives, the truth to their story, what she was wearing, and did she deserve it.  Religions across the world continue to limit women’s roles in their institutions, if they are allowed at all, and restrict their access to teachings, to temples, and to religious practices.  Laws limiting women’s rights to make decisions about their own bodies continue to be enacted and upheld.  Women receive less pay than men for the same amount of work and also provide exorbitant amounts of unpaid labor in the form of childcare and homecare.  Women continue to have limited roles and/or power in government offices and institutions; sex trafficking is a serious issue all over the world and continues to go mostly unchecked; rape and torture is used as a control tactic during war time.

At the macro level, we have a patriarchal society that promotes men’s dominance over women; men possess more political, social, economic power than women; there is a continuously reinforced belief that men are superior to women; as well as a belief that violence is an acceptable way to maintain power.   Religions shun and degrade women and their bodies, contributing to misogynistic belief systems that further perpetuate the acceptability of violence against women.  Domestic violence is still deemed acceptable in many cultures: bride burning, wife beating, wife killing, and honor killings are still every day occurrences.

At the chrono level, we consider the ongoing patriarchal belief systems that have dominated the globe for thousands of years.  Though we have seen much advancement in women’s rights and some diminishment of the violence against women due to the recent feminist uprising, still much work needs to be done.  Awareness is finally rising and more women are starting to stand up to the violence.  Because of the length of time the violence and trauma has been prevalent, however, the experience of intergenerational trauma runs deep and is very much embedded in cultures all over the globe and in our DNA.  When we look at the extent of the violence and for how long it has been prevalent, we can gain better appreciation for how it plays out through the generations and how deep the issues go.  We can also appreciate the support and awareness that is growing and utilize this moment in time to make further progress in ending the violence.  In regard to the concept of time, seeing how far the feminist movement has come in such a short time, but also seeing how slow the progress is can also be beneficial in aiding us to stay the course.  Looking at all of the levels and layers that contribute to the violence lends great understanding as to how it has been perpetuated from generation to generation.

Spiritual Perspectives

Though intergenerational trauma may be a relatively new concept to modern science, this is not new in other fields of consciousness, experience, and thought process.  Spiritual traditions, such as shamanism and direct realization traditions (i.e. Dzogchen, Kashmir Shaivism, tantra) have been working with the reality of intergenerational trauma for thousands of years, though they utilize terms such as karma, ancestor puja, ancestor healing, and kriya yoga.  These traditions understand that ancestors who are unhealthy in body, mind, emotion and spirit will not give birth to offspring that have healthy body, mind, emotion and spirit. 

In Hindu and Buddhist spiritual traditions, these concepts can be understood by understanding karma.  Karma is energy that repeats itself over time.  Karmas are the habits, patterns, and behaviors that we are made up of; our DNA is a gross, or physical, expression of karma that is passed down from our parents – also known as our ancestors.  Being born in a human body is also a karma, as we could have been born as something else.  When contemplating karma as it relates to intergenerational trauma, when experiences of violence or trauma occur and are not properly healed, these energies continue on throughout time and throughout our lineages.  If the traumatic event is an isolated one, the karma created is not as strong, but when events overlap and continue on chronically, a strong unhealthy energy coalesces and gains momentum, continuing on and repeating itself throughout time – in family context, this shows up in our genetics and our DNA, our behaviors, and our thought-patterns that repeat throughout generations.  In societal contexts, it shows up as the pervading norms and attitudes of the people, as well as the laws, the systems, and the people in power.

Intergenerational Trauma Applied to Violence Against Women

Given the understanding of how intergenerational trauma passes from one generation to the next, it is necessary to explore how this violence against women manifests as it has been passed down over the ages.  There are many physical, psychological, emotional, and spiritual repercussions that must be recognized and addressed – not only for women, but for men as well.  Since women give birth to all members of society, these traumas are passed down to and embodied by every one of us, not only through our DNA, but through how mothers raise their children, learned behaviors and attitudes, types of relationships we form with others, psychological disorders that get passed down, and in the ways we do or do not contribute to society.  Though each of us will express this trauma in our own way, many common themes emerge.  Most important to note, however, is that violence against women affects each and every one of us – it is not just a “women’s issue.”

As noted previously, the physical effects of trauma that women experience as a direct result of the many forms of violence they encounter include PTSD, anxiety, stress, illness, and sustained injuries.  PTSD, anxiety, and stress can have long-term repercussions, affecting organs in the body and contributing to diseases such as heart failure, cancer, digestive disorders, chronic pain, hypertension, and endocrine disorders.  All of these can be passed down through genetics and DNA, affecting offspring, both male and female.  One study I came across reported that women with a history of PTSD and/or sexual trauma are more likely to have complications during pregnancy, again, affecting the child they are giving birth to.  Medications prescribed for trauma, stress, anxiety, and psychological disorders also have negative impacts on unborn children and on the mother herself.  These medications alter brain and organ functioning, which in turn gets passed down to the next generation. 

In regards to emotions, it makes sense that a mother who is unable to regulate her own emotions due to the traumatic effects of violence will be unable to teach her child how to regulate their emotions.  This can also be said of unhealthy relating and coping skills – victims of chronic trauma, abuse, and violence are likely to pass on unhealthy behavior patterns, communication styles, and unhealthy ways of relating with others, perpetuating the pattern of abuse and victimization .  This is a main way that trauma moves from generation to generation – learned behavior.  For children growing up witnessing domestic violence, boys learn that violence towards women is acceptable and normal; girls learn the role of the victim and often end up in their own cycle of abusive relationships as they grow older.  Children who grow up in situations of domestic violence and/or are the victims of sexual abuse often suffer from low self-esteem, low sense of self-worth, PTSD, depression, a variety of psychological issues, are more likely to suffer from drug and alcohol abuse, carry on unhealthy relationship patterns, suffer from eating disorders, and do poorly in academic settings and in society in general.

A number of attitudes and factors contribute to the ongoing experience of violence, dominance, and resulting trauma.  Thousands of years of psychological abuse has taken a huge toll on women and contributes greatly to the effects of intergenerational trauma.  Women are forced to carry the shame and burden that many religious institutions have place on them for being the originators of “sin.”  Women’s bodies are a thing of scorn and contempt; women are evil seductress’ looking to damn men’s souls; women are deserving of punishment.  At the same time, women’s bodies are objectified and hyper-sexualized.  Women are scorned for not looking and being sexy enough, yet are shamed and scorned for being too sexual and for tempting men into sin and evil – it is extremely challenging for women to find their power in this confusion.  All of these tactics are utilized as a way to control women and keep them from being in their power; much of this comes down to the threat of violence for women – the threat of being shamed, raped, beaten, or even killed. 

In addition to the threat of physical violence, women live in fear of losing more rights, losing more control over their bodies and reproductive choices, losing support from community and family, being defamed and discredited if they do speak out, losing job opportunities, losing what little bit of power they have fought for over the past many decades.  The men in control of government systems continue to pass and enforce laws that keep power from women and keep them from being in control of their bodies. 

Attitudes of the media (another system ruled by men) support discrediting women by reporting on what she was wearing, what she was doing, and questioning her motives if she does indeed report any sexual assault or other form of violence.  Only then is it newsworthy if the man in question is of high power and authority.  For the most part, however, the media fails to report the majority of violence perpetrated against women, adding to the acceptability, the normalization of, and unimportance of these acts of violence.

In the patriarchal systems that rule the majority of the world, feminine qualities of caring, intuition, expressing emotion, and child-rearing are also shunned, denied, and dismissed as irrelevant, unimportant, and inferior to masculine qualities, further negating women’s lives and experience, as well as their right to power and equality.  All of these control tactics serve to keep women silent, keep women from supporting each other, and keep women from expressing themselves and standing up for themselves.  Again, all of these attitudes, behaviors, and effects of psychological trauma carry on from generation to generation, hindering our ability to have healthy, nourishing relationships with each other and living lives of peace and contentment

A Way Forward

This intergenerational trauma has a number of repercussions for society at large, not only for the women suffering from the violence, but also for men as well.  Not only do women embody the physical effects of violence and trauma that show up as disease, passing them down to their offspring, but they also pass down unhealthy behaviors and emotions, psychological disorders, unhealthy relating styles, unhealthy sexual expression, a lack of spiritual connection, lack of love, low sense of self-worth, substance abuse issues, ongoing power imbalances, chronic sorrow and loneliness, and an unhealthy relationship to the earth and the environment.  When human beings are out of alignment with our inherent goodness and are disconnected from love, we all suffer greatly.  It is not possible to perpetuate this violence or live in a society that condones such violence without being deeply affected by it, as we are all connected fundamentally.  It is this author’s stance that a disconnect from this foundational principle and from our spirituality is at the heart of the matter.  The shaming and shunning of women’s bodies and their place in this world – the disconnect from the feminine aspect of our experience – has caused a split in our psyche that has reverberated throughout the globe and has led to much devastation of the planet and of ourselves.  We must return to our hearts and to a place of loving ourselves, which will only be possible in a world that sees an end to the violence perpetrated towards all members of society.

It is my belief that merging together Eastern and Western traditions and knowledge will bring about a huge degree of change.  This blending and merging of East and West is very much in alignment with the blending and merging of masculine and feminine energies – and will bring about greater cohesiveness, unity, and harmony that will contribute to fostering the wholeness that we currently lack.  Bronfenbrenner’s Systems Theory provides an excellent and thorough understanding of how the various elements of society have created, fostered, and condoned violence against women.  Utilizing shamanic and tantric energy practices will provide powerful tools to heal and shift the energy as it moves through time.

Shamanism is especially beneficial in working with intergenerational trauma, as it works directly with time and with our ancestors.  Shamanic practices manipulate and heal energy threads as they travel throughout the past, present, and future, releasing karmas and ending harmful patterns.  Eastern tantric practices (kriya and karma yoga, pranayama, puja, etc.) also work directly with energy as it moves throughout time, making it another excellent tool for interrupting and healing negative energies, behaviors, and patterns, which in turn stops these energies from continuing forward into future generations.  Not only do these practices heal us in this present moment, but they work backwards to heal the pain and trauma of our ancestors.  Modern science is starting to understand that time is not a fixed experience as once believed; it is a subjective experience and time can be altered and manipulated.  Quantum physics is opening us up to understanding the existence of multiple dimensions and the power of our thoughts and intentions.  This is very much how shamanic and Eastern practices work – they understand that this experience is not a fixed one and that there are many ways to work with and alter it.  This means that there are many other ways to work with, heal and interrupt this experience of intergenerational trauma.  Let us start the healing process now and start sending love and positivity throughout time.  We can create new positive karmas, patterns and behaviors – a new society that embraces the dualistic aspects of our human nature – a new society that celebrates feminine and masculine, that embraces East and West, that supports a thriving, healthy planet.  Let us put an end to the violence that we have been enacting upon ourselves!  We are all responsible for the situation we find ourselves in and, together, we can all put an end to it!

Embrace, Shine, Love!!!

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Gemstones for Sexual Healing

I made a comment on an Instagram post a few days back (find me and follow me there if you feel inspired!) and it was well-received and I even got a very nice comment from another user which has inspired me to write this latest blog post.  I mentioned in my last post here that I’ve been working more intentionally with stones and crystals in my spiritual practice and now as part of my magick.  [A little side-note here:  I am discovering that one can use the term magick to refer to many different ways that we express in our daily experience and that it really comes down to our orientation to how we are living our daily lives.  Is there intention, purpose, and presence in what one is doing?  If so, one could argue that one is performing magick.]  So I realize that I’ve been performing healing magick on myself with these stones and crystals over the past few months and it all came about rather organically.

I do a writing practice every morning which came about after going through The Artist’s Way program (created by Julie Cameron) about 18 months ago during one of my annual pilgrimages to India.  Truth be told, I didn’t actually finish the program (I think I made it to about week 8 – oops!), but the effects of it have been profound and life-changing none the less.  [Perhaps one day I will go back and finish that!  I hear the end is awesome!]  Though I have tweaked it a bit to make it my own, I continue to do my ‘morning pages,’ and part of those pages consist of writing out a full page of affirmations for myself every morning.  It was such a powerful experience during the program that I just continued it on a daily basis.  Talk about magick!  Seriously transformative!

And though that itself would make an excellent blog post, I will save that for a later date and get back to the topic at hand – gemstones and crystals!  As I started to learn more about these little beings and their energies, I started holding them with me during my morning writing with the intention of aiding my process of opening up, being in my heart, and connecting with Source.  As I learned more about different crystals, I started using them even more intentionally and started working with different ones to facilitate different experiences.  At one point I started to learn that, in addition to support with spiritual growth and esoteric happenings, the gemstones are also great for working with physical ailments.  So to test this out, I started to more intentionally incorporate crystals that might help heal the urinary tract infections that I kept experiencing.  A quick search of the internet led me to discover that Carnelian, Amber, and Aquamarine might all be beneficial for bladder and urinary tract issues.  Off to the local magick shop I went and found me just the gemstones I needed.

[So grateful to live in Portland, Oregon and have access to so many lovely shops!  I will take this opportunity to give a huge shout out to one my favorite stores – Psychic Sister.  I LOVE this place for the way it feels, for the aesthetics of the shop, and for the amazing women working there.  I always feel so held and supported there!  If you are not in the same boat with shop options near you, there are many wonderful online sources to find what you need.]

At one point, around the same time (the gemstones started speaking to me very loudly for a while there until they were sure they had my attention and I had amassed a fine little collection – I call them my super-powers!), I discovered Hematite, which is an extremely powerful stone known for its balancing, harmonizing, and grounding qualities.  It helps to balance and align the chakras and supports connecting our energetic experience with our physical world.  It also supports harmonizing and balancing of yin and yang energies, as it contains both within itself – male and female polarities.  Part of my journey has been recognizing a tendency for many of us to swing too far in one direction and I have certainly experienced that in myself.  I have very consciously been working to recognize, strengthen, and harmonize the Divine Feminine and Divine Masculine energies in myself, hence my working with this stone.  If you are familiar with Hematite, you might be aware that it can act like a magnet when placed with another piece of Hematite.  It was natural for me to intuit that when used on the body, that magnetic energy is helping to displace and balance energy, supporting movement where there is stagnation and helping to clear blockages.  It seemed like the perfect thing to use in conjunction with the UTI gemstones. 

With all of my chosen crystals in hand, I sat down to do my morning writing practice.  I placed one piece of Hematite on either side of my pelvis, sort of resting in the crook near my hip joints, and then I placed the Carnelian, Amber, and Aquamarine on my lower abdomen over where my bladder, urinary tract, uterus, and sexual organs reside.  I communed with the stones, setting my intention and asking for their help and support in clearing the issues I was having with my bladder and urinary tract.  I feel this is an extremely important part of working with these beings – asking for their support, setting intention, and offering so much gratitude for their supporting us on our journey.  So that is what I did.  It didn’t take long sitting there before I started feeling movement in my pelvis – energy movement, gurgling, different types of sensations.  Very exciting!  The Hematite felt like it was pulling the energies of the other stones through my pelvis (that is the vision that came to mind anyway) and I could tell that powerful things were happening.  Though I didn’t know for sure, I trusted that it was all positive movement and would have beneficial outcomes. 

I continued this the next day during my writing practice with the same type of sensations and energy movement.  I continued to set intentions and thank the gemstones for their support.  I think it was even as soon as the second treatment that I started having some very strange and cathartic dreams.  Very strange sexually-themed dreams and not entirely pleasant, truth be told.  I understood very quickly though that they were purging, cleansing, and clearing dreams and that they were linked to the treatments I had been doing with the gemstones.  I started researching them more and discovered how beneficial they are for healing issues surrounding sexual trauma and abuse and for clearing negative sexual energies – healing the second chakra (Svadhisthana), removing blockages, clearing stagnation.  And seriously wow.  That is exactly what they were doing for me – without my even setting off on this part of the journey intentionally.

The experiences I was having led me to want to work more intentionally with this situation so I started researching more gemstones that support sexual healing.  Throughout the course of my learning about stones, I had acquired a few books to support me in the process, but they all felt fairly vague to me and didn’t go into the detail that I wanted and oftentimes they focused more on physical healing properties rather than the spiritual properties, which is what I was mostly interested in.  On one of my visits to Psychic Sister, I came across the Holy Grail of gemstone books and it has changed my life.  Not kidding.  The Book of Stones: Who They Are and What They Teach by Robert Simmons and Naisha Ahsian is just an absolute wealth of information on nearly 400 stones.  The history of their usage, where they are found, their physical healing properties, their metaphysical properties, and which chakra they support – in excellent detail.  I love this book!!!  I don’t imagine I will ever look at another stone book again.  Okay, well maybe.  But seriously, if you are interested in working with these beings, do yourself a favor and buy this book.  It will bust it all wide open for you.  The glossary breaks it all down into both physical and metaphysical properties in such an easy to search manner.  Looking for a stone to aid in working with humility?  It’s listed there.  A stone to support finding a hidden talent?  It’s in there.  A stone to support lucid dreaming?  Yep, that is listed too!  And then there are all the physical aspects listed out as well – working with heart, liver, warts, infertility, you name it.  My point being that it is all super organized and detailed in a way that I’ve not experienced with any other book – you don’t have to search through a ton of information to find what you are looking for.  It is all pinpointed right there.  I utilize this resource constantly to support my magickal workings, my spiritual practice, and going through my daily life.  It is absolutely amazing.  So, yeah, get this book! 

Okay, back to the topic at hand – gemstones for sexual healing.  My research led me to Orange Calcite, Red Jasper, and Orange Kyanite – a particularly powerful stone for clearing negative energies from the second chakra, accrued during this lifetime, as well as previous lifetimes.  So I went searching for these little beauties to add to my sexual healing regimen.  Both Orange Calcite and Red Jasper are fairly easy to obtain, but the Orange Kyanite took a bit more searching around town – I finally found it at The Gold Door and oh am I glad I did.  This is a seriously powerful stone!  [I’ll explain more shortly.]

I continued on with my morning sessions, setting my intentions for healing my sexual organs, releasing any negative energy stored there, clearing the energies, and opening to creativity (which, when the second chakra is flowing properly, is what naturally manifests).  The Book of Stones says that the second chakra is the seat of our sexual and creative energies.  Indeed!  I continued to notice changes in my physical experience of sexual activity (less pain, greater sensation, more freedom in my energy) and also an increased level of desire for sexual activity.  I felt less defensive and more engaged.  I recognize more and more how much I have embodied a defensive stance in my pelvic region and I now realize that was causing a lot of the pain and urinary tract infections that I was experiencing – I was always ready for a physical issue which had me very guarded. 

Around this time I received an email from an energy healer that I had worked with previously for a number of sessions that was a great support for me on my healing journey, removing and helping me to release a ton of negative energy that I had been carrying around with me since birth (I was put up for adoption at birth and that led to all sorts of issues for me, but we can explore that perhaps during a different post) and that I had accumulated throughout my lifetime.  Again, we can get into that more later, as I would love to share more with you all at some point.  Anyway, here was this healer, just reaching out to say hi and see how I was doing.  Such interesting timing.  I know that nothing happens by accident and everything, absolutely everything, is divinely timed and I know to listen to the messages when they arrive, so I knew that his reaching out was not a coincidence and that I needed to book a session with him – and I had been wanting my husband to meet with him as well, as I knew he would benefit greatly from some energy healing.  So I set us each up with a healing session for the following week.  This healer works remotely from Australia (how awesome is that?!) and I have actually never met him in person.  Amazing how energy and intention works!  We can save quantum physics for another post though too.  Ha!

So, how this works is the healer and I connect via Zoom for a bit and chat for a while, then he goes in and does what he does, seeing what negative energy needs to be removed and he removes it.  I don’t actually know exactly how he does this, but it doesn’t really matter that I don’t know – all that matters is that I know it works!  These sessions happen in the evening, so after we finish talking online, we say our goodbyes and then I head to bed to lay down and relax, reading a bit before sleeping, while he does the session remotely.  During this particular session, I felt a bit of cramping in my pelvic area and knew that something was shifting.  I always get so excited to check my inbox the next day, because I always receive an email after the session to let me know what was found and what was removed.  Sure enough, the next day, I get the email explaining that a great deal of sexual trauma was removed from my pelvic region – a great deal of sexual abuse from previous lifetimes.  What…?!  Seriously?  Wow.  I had no idea that I was carrying that around.  And I thought immediately of all the stone work I had been doing and especially about the Orange Kyanite that very specifically works with sexual healing from both this current lifetime and previous lifetimes.  No kidding!  These gemstones are some very seriously powerful beings.

So much has come to pass since I started on this sexual healing journey a few months back.  You know that saying we’ve heard forever and we hear even more now that it is the year 2020 – yep, that hindsight thing.  It really is quite amazing to look back and see how much has transpired since starting to work very intentionally with those first few stones.  We tend to want results right away and we look for these big signs that say, “Yes, this is working in a big way!”   But really, the effects, the energy shifts, and the healing all move much more slowly and more subtly than what we are expecting and looking for.  This issues that need healing didn’t happen overnight, so we can’t expect that the healing is going to happen overnight.  The further along on my journey I travel, the more and more I appreciate that slow and steady wins the race.  Commitment and consistency are key.  Faith and confidence in the process are paramount.  I can very easily see now, looking back, how it all came together and how all the pieces of the puzzle fit together to lead up to this powerful ease and freedom I am experiencing now in my body.  Working intentionally and consistently with one stone opened me up to the wisdom of that stone which led me to work with another stone, further opening me up to additional wisdom, which led to the next healing step on the journey, which opened up to the energy healer’s email, which opened up to more healing and purging and on it goes.  And this is how the gemstones work – they subtly shift our energy body and open us up to the messages we need to hear and the steps we need to take to align more fully with their wisdom and their energetic frequency.  It is a powerful, powerful process if we can sit still long enough to let them do their thing.  Commune with them, open to them, talk to them, and align with them.  They have great wisdom to share – wisdom of the Earth and of the cosmos.  And they have great healing properties – if we can open to them and allow them to work their magick on us.

I am so excited to be sharing about this part of my journey and hope you find inspiration in it.  The freedom I am experiencing in my pelvic region is quite profound.  I am no longer experiencing urinary tract issues; the frequency of my urinating has greatly decreased (it has been a huge issue for my entire life!); I am no longer experiencing pain during intercourse; I have more sensation during intercourse; my body is less defensive; my creativity is heightened; I feel a huge shift in my energy body with a more open flow and less stagnation; I don’t have the same fear and tension I previously experienced during sexual activity (I actually didn’t realize how much that was happening until now that I am not experiencing it); and the pH in my vagina is so much more healthy.  Some of this I simply cannot put into words, but I suppose freedom is the best way I can describe it.  Freedom and flow.  And my desire for sexual activity has increased as well which feels so much more healthy to me, as I felt out of alignment with my level of desire previously.  My mental and physical desire didn’t match up – I wanted to feel more desire, but my body was not cooperating. 

I know that so many of us struggle with a blockages and stagnation in our pelvic region and in our second chakra.  We hold so much of our tension here and we store up emotional pain and trauma in this region.  It greatly affects our sexual expression and our creative abilities and powers.  We are sexual beings and when we are not experiencing our sexuality in a healthy way, it profoundly affects many areas of our lives and our relationships with others – not just sexual relationships mind you, but it affects how we experience other people and causes us to be defensive and guarded when our energy is not flowing freely.  A healthy second chakra supports healthy boundaries, a healthy relationship to pleasure, and enhanced access to our creative powers.  And very importantly – a healthy reproductive system, healthy sexual organs, and a healthy urinary tract system. 

I want to take a moment here to say that when I talk about “experiencing our sexuality in a healthy way,” this does not presume any specific ideal sexual expression.  We can experience healthy sexuality without having any sexual relations with anybody.  When I talk about sexuality, I am not simply referring to the act of engaging in sex.  I mean that we are free to express in any way that feels right for us without feeling restricted in any way or untrue to ourselves in any way – and this can fall anywhere on the scale from abstinence to engagement with a number of partners.  There are no rules here!  Only that we are not acting from a place of societally sanctioned norms, from old patterning and unhealthy belief systems, or from any fear or shame-based state of being.  It might be difficult for us to even know what that looks like for ourselves, as these patterns, behaviors, and thought-processes are so ingrained in our experience and we hold them unconsciously in our bodies.  How do we know what healthy sexuality is for ourselves when we’ve never experienced it before and we lack good role models?   This is a big part of what I am learning from my healing journey with the stones.

Here is a list of the gemstones I’ve been working with and that have brought about this huge transformation and healing for me:

  • Orange Kyanite
  • Red Jasper
  • Carnelian
  • Orange Calcite
  • Citrine (try to get natural citrine, not the heat-treated citrine – you will probably need to find this online)
  • Amber
  • Aquamarine
  • Hematite (which, as mentioned previously, I place on either side of my pelvis in the crease that forms at the hip area)

You’ll notice that the majority of these gemstones are similar in color.  An awesome thing about gemstones is that they tend to align with the color of the chakra that they are most supportive of.  The color associated with the second chakra (Svadhisthana chakra) is orange, like most of the stones listed here.  Pretty cool huh?!  The other very cool thing about working with gemstones is that they tend to speak to you in a very personal way, so feel free to branch out and do your own exploring.  See which ones speak to you and trust your intuition – that is how they communicate with us! 

As always, feel free to reach out with any questions.  Best to you on your journey!  I hope the stones speak to you.  And feel free to share any of your own healing experiences with these amazing beings.  I would love to hear!

Embrace SELF!  Shine BRIGHTLY!  And LOVE, LOVE, LOVE!

Xo ~ Saidi

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What Are You Putting In Your Cauldron?

I’ve been reading Spellcrafting: Strengthen the Power of Your Craft by Creating and Casting Your Own Unique Spells, written by Arin Murphy-Hiscock, over the past many weeks and have been getting quite a bit out of it.  As a spiritual practitioner, my main focus over the past many years has been working with my energy body via teachings and practices in kriya yoga.  A natural progression of this energy work within myself has led me to start working more intentionally with energy outside myself.  Over the past fifteen months or so, I’ve started getting much more intentional about working with setting intentions, using essential oils and incorporating stones, gems, and crystals into my daily practice.  I’ve had profound experiences in doing so (especially around sexual healing), which has led me to deeper exploration of these powerful energies.  My experiences and my explorations, coupled with the timing of meeting my beloved husband who has practiced magick for many years, has organically led me to Pagan and Wiccan traditions and learning more about witchcraft.  And I gotta admit, I am kind of in love with all of it!  I now have some very concrete tools to focus and harness all the energy I’ve been learning about and working with for the past many years.  It feels like a very natural and organic process.  I especially adore that it is all so nature-focused – working with plant energies, stone and gem spirits, planetary energy, and the elements our world is made up of.  And I find it very compatible with the Hindu-Kashmir Saivism-Tantra blend that I’ve been trained in.  It is also very much in alignment with the Goddess energy I am drawn to and especially powerful for working with Divine Masculine and Divine Feminine energies.  Oh – how could I forget?  Sensuality and sexuality is completely and totally supported, embraced, celebrated, and practiced with!  Excellent!  No shaming here.

I also really appreciate how supportive these traditions are of people working and exploring on their own – or working in groups.  From what I have come to understand, thanks to a thoughtful and thorough titled, Drawing Down the Moon: Witches, Druids, Goddess-Worshippers, and Other Pagans in America, by Margot Adler, it feels like a great deal of freedom and creativity is supported and welcomed in this tradition.  There are no major rules to follow and no structured hierarchy making any rules.  Loving it!  This speaks volumes to me and is a big part of the reason I feel so at home in all of this.

I want to take a moment to offer a big shout out to Margot Adler and her awesome book.  It felt like a perfect introduction into the history, philosophy, and traditions of witchcraft, Paganism, and Wicca.  I feel like I have a fairly solid foundation from which to move forth in my explorations.  Highly recommended if you feel these traditions speaking to you.   The back of Adler’s book refers to “groups that are non-authoritarian in spirit and share the belief that there is no one single path to divinity.”  Yes! 

One of the main lessons I have learned over the course of my spiritual path is that we all come to Spirit, Goddess, Source, The Universe in whatever way works best for us.  Whatever speaks to us is what speaks to us.  We cannot be told by others how to worship or pray or connect with The Universe.  We can be pointed in certain directions of course – and get instruction from others on what has worked for them of course – but, ultimately, our path is our own and what works for others may not work for us and vice versa.  Too many people have been turned off to a deeper connection with their own heart and soul by being told how they are supposed to be doing it – and how they are not supposed to be doing it.  Being told what Source is or isn’t.  Who, what, where, why, and how they should or shouldn’t be worshipping, praying, communing, connecting, seeking, journeying.  Argh.  It just doesn’t work.  But, I am not here to get off on a rant about organized religious and spiritual groups – let’s save that for later, shall we?

Now back to the point at hand and the reason I sat down to write this post…cauldrons.  As mentioned previously, I’ve been reading and enjoying the Spellcrafting book and finding it rather helpful.  One passage I found especially inspiring recently had to do with “kitchen spellcraft.”  The author spoke about creating magick in the kitchen with our food and our kitchenware.  I’ve been working with being very present and mindful when both eating and with preparing meals with my husband.  We work with intention and send love into our food as we are working with it in order to aid in digestion and to give thanks to all that has come together to bring us this food – the plants, the planet, the sun, the elements, the people.  It has been a really powerful and beneficial practice for us and is connecting us so much more with these essential life forces and really putting us in deeper connection with gratitude.  This particular passage I read kicked it up to an entirely new level for me and feels so in alignment with all of the magick that I am learning about.  Murphy-Hiscock spoke of the food ingredients being the magical elements and the kitchenware being our magical tools – likening the pot to a cauldron, the wooden spoon to a wand, and the other cookware to an “agent of magic as well.”  That just makes so much sense to me and adds a whole new dimension to the powerful practice we are already working with. 

Feeling super excited and inspired, I read the passage aloud to my husband who was lying in bed next to me reading his own book.  It totally resonated with him as well and we got inspired to start incorporating this new awareness into our mealtime preparations – taking our magick into the kitchen even more intentionally.  I read a few more pages of the book, kissed my husband goodnight, then turned off the light and went to sleep feeling inspired by what I had read and excited to incorporate this new bit of understanding. 

Apparently that little passage was even more inspiring than I could have realized.  It went to work on me all night long and opened up some important revelations and awarenesses.  My spirit team takes advantage of my being asleep to give me what I like to call “downloads” or lessons or visions.  These occurrences tend to last most of the night and manifest as wisdom and understanding that is accompanied by color and light of some sort that has an emotional feel to it – or rather the color is the emotion and the wisdom.  I don’t exactly know how to put words to it, but the color is a knowing – or the knowing has a color.  The color has a feeling.  There can be other images too, but mostly it is just an experience of the color and the wisdom.  Yes, I think that describes it better – an experience of the color.  Hmmm.  I’m sure you know how challenging it can be to describe the happenings of our inner world that we journey to at night. I think that is probably the best I am going to do with this one! 

Well, so the wisdom that was being shared and that resonated so deeply was that our entire life is a cauldron – with this viewpoint and understanding, we can approach our whole life as magick and alchemy.  We are indeed the sorceresses, the magicians, the witches.  And all of the elements that get put into our cauldron, our lives, are what creates our reality.  We have the power to choose – at least after a certain age we do.  When we are very young, the decisions are mostly made for us, but as we grow older and wiser, we get to start making the decisions about what we put into our cauldron.  We can choose whether to add more positive or more negative elements – we can put healthy food in our cauldron or we can put a bunch of processed food into it; we can surround ourselves with healthy relationships or we can add more toxic relationships; add exercise or add stagnation; include meditation time or add an abundance of screen time; get out into nature or stay indoors; watch inspirational programs or watch the news.  All of these elements blend together in a type of alchemy to create the life and the reality that we are living – for better or for worse.  It just felt like such a beautiful way to relate to life and it felt quite empowering to see that I am the one in control, in large part, of what goes into my cauldron. 

It feels important to recognize that, though we get to choose, some of these choices definitely take more work and effort on our part if we want to add them to our cauldron.  For instance, in this society, depending on which part of the country we live in (and so many other privileges can be taken into account as well!), adding healthy elements into our cauldron is not as easy as adding unhealthy elements.  Organic produce is not an option everywhere; not all of us have access to or the resources for a gym membership; some of us live in more toxic environments.  There are always many factors at play, but the idea and purpose of this analogy was to help us recognize where we do have power and where we can make decisions that are the most healthy for us – and, yes, we might need to put more effort into making those healthy choices as opposed to taking the path of least resistance.  But the reality we will create for ourselves, the alchemy that will happen when we start being more conscious and mindful of our choices, will indeed be magical!  

I woke up from the night so inspired and excited to share this with you.  May you find inspiration in it as well!

Offering much love and light to you all!

Xo ~ Saidi

Pick It Apart

Social distancing has caused quite a change for me in my current profession (in case you missed my last post and just to catch you all up – I am a sex worker).  I’ve had to get a bit more creative on how I connect with people, as I certainly want to do my part in not contributing to the spread of any illness.  That being said, I believe it is especially important to stay connected during this time, as the social isolation actually only contributes more to weakening our immune system by adding to stress and anxiety – even sadness, depression, and despair for some.   I recently started offering sessions via phone, which some people are actually starting to take me up on.  So lovely!  Mind you, these sessions are not of a sensual or sexual nature – if people are looking for that type of interaction, there are plenty of others out there that are quite skilled at offering this service.  I’m actually quite shy when it comes sexy talk, though I would LOVE to get over that, as I think sexy talk can be, well – pretty damn sexy!!! 

So – my phone sessions are geared more towards social companionship and conversation – I am especially interested in talking with clients about their spirituality (or lack thereof) and how they are working with our current situation – how are they keeping themselves hopeful and positive (or do they need support in this area?).  I am also interested in perhaps a more therapeutic type of discussion.  I am rather passionate about supporting a more healthy view and belief system regarding our sensual and sexual expression.  I have seen time and time again (and have experienced plenty myself!) how growing up in our Christian, shame-based society has deeply affected our sexual expression and sensual interactions with others.  Even if we didn’t ourselves grow up in a Christian household, being that it is the dominant religion and pretty much permeates every aspect of our society in one way or another, I don’t believe that any of us successfully escaped its influences – especially in regards to sexual expression. 

I have spent years dissecting, working through, and dismantling the belief system I inherited that has told me the way I naturally desire to express myself sensually – is wrong, is bad, is sinful, is inappropriate, is slutty, is shameful, is immoral, is evil, is…, is…, is….  According to our Christian society – we are not supposed to have sexual thoughts at a young age, we are supposed to wait to have sex until we are married, only have sex with the person we are married to, ideally only have sex in the missionary position, and never desire anybody or anything else…until death do us part.  If we go against these norms, we are made to feel shame, guilt, inferior, sinful, lustful, wrong, unlovable, undeserving, shunned, manipulative, weak, aggressive, perverted, kinky, and the list goes on – and oh yeah – how could I forget that whole “going to Hell” issue.

Well, since as long as I can remember, I’ve been curious about experiencing intimacy with another person.  I have craved and desired sensual connection with another.  I was initially going to say “with the opposite sex,” but that is actually not true, as some of my earliest sensual interactions were with another female, at the age of maybe 12 (?), who was technically my cousin (by marriage).  So – many no-no’s going on here and I definitely knew I was doing something “wrong” despite the fact that it just felt so good and fun and free and exciting.  And I know this is a common experience for many of us – and all of these “no-no’s” lead to us feeling shame and confusion about what we are experiencing – and then we embody that shame, in one way or another, and then our sensual expression tends to come out all sideways – or, perhaps worse, not at all. 

I see this shame and confusion time and time again with my clients.  Of course I see it with women so much too.  Hell, I see it everywhere.  Once I start digging a little deeper, it doesn’t take long to start unearthing the shame-based mentality and the convoluted belief system laying at the foundation of our sexual issues.  And this is precisely what happened yesterday after the phone session I had with my client. 

Our conversation started with the usual getting-to-know-you topics – where are you from?  What do you do to pass the time?  How are you dealing with this lock-down?  Where do you go hiking?  After we were both sufficiently comfortable with each other, the conversation started turning a little more personal and he shared a bit more about why he was contacting me, which is pretty much the same reason many of my clients contact me – a lack of physical intimacy in their marriage (for those that are married of course).  This person has been married many years and has a lovely family and loves his wife very much.  Everything about their relationship is great, aside from the fact that she is just no longer interested in physical intimacy with her husband anymore.  According to him, things changed quite a bit after menopause.  And though she is no longer interested in pursuing this aspect of their union, he is still quite interested in engaging with her and expressing his sexual energy.  He longs to be touched and to be affectionate.  And he realizes how deeply affected his mood and mental state are when he is not receiving or giving affection and touch.   He went on to say that he had met with a sex therapist at one point who told him he had three options:  get okay with the lack of intimacy with his wife; end the marriage; or pursue other options.

Since he wasn’t okay with letting go of the part of himself that desired physical connection and intimacy and he had absolutely no desire to leave the wife that he loved and had built a beautiful life with, he started pursuing other options – which is how he came to be in contact with me – a professional in the field of physical intimacy. 

So okay – at this point there are a thousand different directions I could take this post, as it brings up so many rich topics and issues to dive into – and I trust that I will indeed dive into many of those topics and issues during later posts, as this is very much why I am here writing these blog posts.  I want more than anything to dive into each and every one of these topics, some of which come to mind are: morals, infidelity, menopause, sexual desire, being a professional, marriage, divorce, love, sex therapy, marriage counseling, communication, dishonesty, following your truth, compromise, guilt, shame (yes, that again!), expectations, connection, affection, the very real human need for intimacy and touch, and I could go on and on and on.  What I am going to do, however, and the reason I sat down to share about this experience, is that I wanted to share the awareness I had after this conversation with this man.  I want to share MY truth and MY process and what is in MY heart – the foundational issue that I am trying to get to the heart of – in my writing, in my work, in my life, and in my message.  

I trust that we all have a part to play here on this planet and in this lifetime, a voice to be used, a message to be shared – something that resonates so deeply and makes our soul sing.  Something unique to us, to our specific vibration, to our soul mission.  I appreciate that other people have different ideas of what we are doing here and what our purpose in this lifetime is (or isn’t), but this is what I know to be true for me –and I know when I am in alignment with my purpose and with my gifts.  My energy changes and I just feel right.

So after finishing the conversation with this lovely gentleman, which I have to admit made me sad on quite a few levels, my mind immediately went to:  How could both participants in the marriage be supported?  Which turned into: how could we bring intimacy back into the relationship?  Which quickly turned into: well, what if the wife just isn’t into intimacy anymore?  Why should she be made to be?  Which led to: why shouldn’t he be able to get his needs met elsewhere?  Which got me thinking about how much that is not supported in our society or in the majority of marriages.  Which turned to: why not?  Why shouldn’t it be completely acceptable to enjoy sensual pleasure with a person other than your spouse?  I very quickly realized that one main reason is that it feels like a threat of loss.  If one’s spouse is enjoying pleasure with somebody outside the marriage, the concern is that the person will leave to be with that new person.  The fear is a loss of love.  Sensual intimacy or simply sexual pleasure is equated with love – which is true for so many of us.  We are made to believe and have embodied the ideas that we need to be in love with the person we are having sex with (and if we don’t, we are being bad or sinful) or that if our spouse or partner has sex with somebody else, they are going to love us less.

Again, I return to our Christian values that we were raised with that equate sexual pleasure with love and marriage – to have sexual pleasure without these two things is immoral, sinful, evil, perverted.  But let us return back to the previous conundrum – sexual relations with somebody other than our spouse.  My client explained to me that he himself had no moral issues with sexual relations outside the marriage, but he knew he could not have this conversation with his wife and that she would not be supportive.  Now I could easily get into the “you never know unless you try” thing, but some things we just know about our spouse and this was clearly one of those things in this situation, so I did not need to go there with him.  But it really got me perplexed when I continued on with my string of thought and contemplation – why is it an issue if this man seeks sexual pleasure elsewhere if the wife is not interested in it any longer?  Why is it so threatening to have these conversations and to consider this option?  In the end, it felt like a threat of loss, as stated above – a threat of the potential loss of love and what we are told that love is in this monogamy-centric society. 

And then I felt inspired, not to try to figure out a way to fix the intimacy issue between the husband and wife, but to support people (both men and women) to get in touch with the love that lives within – the love that is absolutely not dependent on another or any happenings outside the self.  The foundational issue here is not about the libido or differing levels of desire for sexual intimacy that exist between men and women – and how to bridge that gap or erase the gap (which we all know damn well isn’t going to happen with any amount of couples therapy or sex education – we are two very different creatures with very different needs that are constantly in flux due to an unfathomable number of variables) – the foundational issue, when I got right down to it, is the lack of love that we feel for ourselves and the fact that it tends to depend so much on our relationship to the other. 

Part of why I have created this blog is to explore more deeply these issues of embracing self – and for me that means loving ourselves, deeply, truly, sincerely, without need for approval – from others, from society, from the powers that be, from old outdated belief systems.  We need to stand strong in our power and that has to start with coming back to our hearts – our own individual unique hearts.  I hope to support precisely this process with my little blog here as it starts developing.

I fully appreciate how complex all of this is and I could easily pick any one of the sentences above to explore and turn into its own separate post (which I definitely hope to do here!), as there are many nuances and subtleties that lie with in – and plenty of not-so-subtle elements that lie within – and without.  As mentioned previously, I just wanted to share the train of thought and what got sparked for me as a result of that phone conversation.  I am also working hard to stay true to my own heart and simply share my process, without worrying too excessively about how it is being received.  Of course I want it all to be well-received, but there are many views and beliefs and ideas out there that work for each of us and this is just one – just mine.  I own it, I work with it, I watch it morph and evolve all the time.  I appreciate you holding space for it and witnessing it and for being part of my journey here. 

Wishing you all the best on your journey and please do feel free to share any thoughts or comments you might have if you feel so called to do so.  Stay tuned for more thoughts on all that was discussed here.  So rich, so deep.

Much love ~ Saidi

Embrace – Shine – Love!

Embracing Self

I am a sex worker.

I am also…

A devoted wife

A student

A gardener

A spiritual practitioner

A home-maker

A care-taker

A witch

A magician

A gym enthusiast

A hiker

A camper

An adoptee

A recovering alcoholic

And an ex-heroin addict

A holder of a Bachelor of Social Work degree

And a Gerontology Associate degree

Currently working on my Masters

A writer

A poet (even published a time or two!)

A blogger

A devotee

Who talks with her spirit team all of the time

A lover

A friend

A best friend

A 45-year-old

A hospice volunteer

A vegan

Who tries to eat mostly organic

A world traveler

Well – five countries thus far, including the one I live in

A pet lover

A tantrika

A cook

A Scorpio

With a moon in Cancer

Recovered from Hepatitis C

A lover of books

A grief support group facilitator

An almost-felon

With a number of misdemeanors under my belt

And too many trips to jail

A mostly recovered bulimic

A daughter

A niece

A sister

A cat lover

A movie watcher

An avid follower of astrology

A hand holder

A sensualist

A healer

A learner

A teacher

A guide

An Amazon Prime member

A star gazer

A wearer of many boots

An owner of three coloring books

An aspiring landscape designer

A dreamer

A motivator

An up-lifter

A control freak

Just trying to let it all go

A goth at heart

Who still adores super loud music

A nerd

And the owner of the beginnings of a very fine hat collection

I am a Goddess

I am love.

I am all of these things.

I am none of these things.

And I am much, much more. 

And I have spent my entire lifetime trying to hide one or more of these aspects of myself from you, from me, from my family, from friends, from society, from academic institutions, from the powers that be, from the people in control, from the people that make the rules, from the people who hold the love, from the people who hold the key, from anybody I feared judgment from – anybody that might keep me from going where I wanted to go – accomplishing what I wanted to accomplish – living the way I wanted to live – expressing the way I wanted to express – learning what I wanted to learn – loving what I wanted to love – loving how I wanted to love – being who I am meant to be .

My life has been quite an adventure.  Full of joys and full of sorrows.  As is usually the case with us human beings.  It has been a powerful journey of self discovery.  A journey that continues to morph and change, day in and day out.  I don’t yet have it all figured out and I have come to relish the beauty of that fact.  And though I do not have all the answers and I still find myself absolutely perplexed at times by all of life’s little complexities and nuances, I have learned a thing or two along the way – and I feel called to share that wisdom with you, with anyone who wants to listen, with anybody who is looking to connect, with anyone who might need a little support on their journey.

I started off this blog by just putting it all out there – I have worked long and hard to embrace my entire self and to not live a shame-based existence.  Though I am mostly out of the closet with being a sex-worker, it is something I am still working on owning in some circles as there has been such stigma and shame surrounding sex work.  It feels especially empowering to put it out there front and center – to own it, to rock it, to let you all know how much I love it!  And to highlight the fact that though I do love it and it is an important part of my life, there are many many many other aspects of me that are way more influential and powerful in my life.  I, probably much like you, am a very complex, rich, and many-faceted creature who expresses in a ton of different ways – and sex work is just one of those many ways.

My life has taken some very interesting twists and turns and has been anything but “normal” – and I wouldn’t have it any other way.  I have learned and grown so much and am so appreciative for the places I have been.  I have gained so much compassion and empathy for myself and for others.  The grief I have experienced helps me appreciate the grief that we all carry, for one reason or another.  Having spent so much of my life feeling like an outcast and a misfit and like I just simply did not belong has helped me to recognize how we each have struggled with trying to find our place and to feel loved for exactly who we are and how we have shown up in this lifetime.  So much of our energy is spent trying to conform and fit in and mold ourselves to what society has deemed appropriate – and it has sucked the life out of us and wasted much of our precious time and energy.  I have never fit in and now I am so grateful for that.  And grateful to be finally fully embracing myself and saying “fuck it!”  I love myself and how I have shown up.  And I am ready to start seriously rocking it!   

There is so much I feel called to share and I am contemplating what exactly my intention is for this blog, as I believe setting intention is the very foundation of our lives.  This is one of the big lessons I have been learning over the course of my life – when I don’t set intention and focus my energy, my life feels scattered and out of alignment.   This quote from Deepak Chopra embodies my view beautifully: 

“Intentions compressed into words enfold magical power.”

When I set intention, which can be as simple as saying internally or out loud “I want to align more fully with love,” my life starts to align with that intention.  It sounds very simple when I put it like that, but it has actually taken years of practice to feel like I finally have a real grasp on what it means to live a life of intention and in alignment with my true purpose.  My true purpose is indeed to align more fully with love – or to remember that, at my core, all that I truly am is love.  There are many other intentions I set day to day and as I go about my life, but that one has remained central for many years and has been my theme.  I’m grateful to be able to share that I finally have a very real and actual lived experience of this – years into my spiritual practice and years into doing pretty much everything possible to keep bringing myself back to this intention: mantra, meditation, journaling, writing daily affirmations, annual pilgrimages to India, reading tons of books (or at least starting them anyway!), prayer, talking to my spirit team, and on and on and on.  Anything to keep returning to my intention.  Another excellent quote that I hold dear:

“Isn’t it great to know that you cannot control your world from the outside?  To try and control things on the outside feels impossible because it would take so much work, and in fact it is impossible according the law of attraction.  To change your world, all you have to do is manage your thoughts and feelings on the inside of you, and then your whole world changes.”  ~ Rhonda Byrne

And now that I feel I am truly in a place of embodying that, I feel called to share more about my process and about my journey – with the intention that perhaps some of it will resonate with you and speak to you and inspire you in some big or small way.  Furthermore, I set an intention to continue to be conscious of the desire for perfectionism and continue to consciously let that go!  Just write from my heart, not my mind so much.  I need to let go of outcome and just enjoy the expression of self via the written word – which I absolutely adore. 

I get excited about connecting and sharing.  So I am just going to try to stay in that excitement and joy.  I am ever trying to move out of my mind and down into my heart.  Our society makes that complicated as it is so mentally focused and we are praised for being in our heads, while scorned for being too emotional, too heart-based.  Our hearts are very systematically shut down from a very early age and then it is our life’s work to find our way back to them.  That is what it has been for me anyway.  The shutting down of my heart and my emotions led me down some dark pathways, which only served to shut me down even further.  It has been a long journey finding my way out of the darkness and has also been a powerful journey of learning to integrate that part of myself that was drawn to that darkness.  For we can’t have the light without the dark.  I have discovered how important it is to remember this point.  We can swing too far in either direction.  We need to balance and harmonize the two aspects of ourselves.  This, too, has been a lifelong journey – learning to embrace all the aspects of myself and not judging, criticizing, or shaming myself (or others).  Definitely a process.  And one I am excited to share about here.

Grateful that you have found your way to this little post here.  Breathing in, breathing out, opening to self, opening to expression.  I look forward to continued sharing here.  I look forward to a continued embracing of self – of shining my light brightly – of loving whole-heartedly.  And that is the main intention of this blog!  Embrace self; shine light; love, love, love!

Thank you again for being here! Sending much love and light your way.

~ Saidi

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