By Loraine Van Tuyl, PhD
Let the waters settle and you will see the moon and stars mirrored in your own being. - Rumi
Grandmother Moon is my ancient feminine go-to guide when in need of inner reflection to reboot everyday stuck cycles in my life. The last few evenings, while basking in her global love and timeless wisdom, I asked if she could illuminate the shadow aspects of three stubborn boulders along my path that had not budged an inch in the last few weeks, no matter what angle I tried to approach them from.
At a glance, these blocks seemed to be very different. But Grandmother Moon whispered that under life's ordinary veil, they functioned like “bass chords giving resonance to the little melodies of daily life,” as James Hillman, the author of The Soul's Code, would say. My challenge was to find and hit the sweet spot of these three notes, not separately, but all at once, to unlock their mysterious connection and proceed along my path. So I retraced my steps, listening carefully, belaboring and birthing just one line at the time, to see if I'd catch something new with this holistic intention in mind.
The first boulder pertained to sending out this newsletter – ideally weeks ago. I had plenty of freshly written pieces to chose from, pertinent and well-received pieces that I had posted in the Quest 2015 facebook forum that I was a part of. I could repackage any of these with ease, but didn't, intentionally honoring “something” mysterious yet familiar that was holding me back, that seemed to be percolating deep inside of me during these deceptively dead winter weeks.
Grandmother Moon clarified that this is what much of my writing spurts looked and felt like when working on my memoir during the past 17 years or so. Now that my book manuscript was out of my hands and getting overhauled by Brooke Warner of She Writes Press, I needed an outlet for this finicky voice, which had latched onto my newsletter as her new home.
Unable to come up with an alternative, my mind drifted to boulder number two, which pertained to a major hallmark moment in my life. After visiting Mayan ruins and temples on Christmas day of 2014 in Mexico, I stumbled upon an obscure sacred ritual that every cell of my body yearned to step into and adopt as my soul's skeleton and core purpose on earth.
I discovered very compelling indications that the cryptic specifics that I'd downloaded during my most peak, mystical out-of-body experience a decade ago matched many particulars of this sacred ritual, an ancient Mayan/Toltec, as above - so below, world-centering ceremony that is still observed in Chichen Itza, Mexico, today. My source of inspiration, captured by many as above - so below motifs in my book, was suddenly as real as the chair that I am sitting on. It had been there all along, balancing in the middle section of my heart, the hub of my soul's wheel, where all the spokes of my life met and emerged from.
After pulling myself and my intuitive hunches through the self-doubt and “Am I delusional?” wringer for so long, there was no doubt in my mind now that this discovery, the heartbeat of my story, held significance that I needed to share with others so that their mysteriously-guided, pathless dream paths don't wreak the same havoc in their lives as it did in mine.
The question was “how?” What springboard do I dive from? Can I fast-forward to my unique contributions by skipping over territory already travailed, like a flat rock sidelined over the smooth surface of a lake? Without being pulled in and drowning?
I'd tried hopping and skipping through the cutting-edge psychospiritual bodies of work in clinical psychology, the established New Age channels, the esoteric wisdom movements, the Mayan and indigenous sacred hoops, the cultural plagiarism and exploitation battlefields, the James Hillman's acorn patch. All were false starts. My short summaries didn't do a single one of these bodies of work justice nor seemed to built a culturally-sensitive foundation that was solid enough to support my extraordinary claims, which I know will elicit extraordinary scrutiny that I needed to be ready for.
When dead-ended by boulder number two, my mind veered to road-block number three – my parenting shortcomings in guiding my free-spirited 11-year old daughter away from middle school versions of “penis-envy” (wishes she was a boy, hates being a girl, hates dealing with her monthly, embarrassing, SO-NOT-FAIR, moody, crampy, “moon-time” bloody mess). It's been hard to watch her expansive self and imaginative “open-mind” – as her perceptive older brother astutely called it when he was only 13 – shrink to fit in a cultural mold that is not only crippling, but also shunning her already established intuitive parts into what I call the woo woo wastelands of woo-ism.
So I asked Grandmother Moon how to best offer my daughter guidance, understanding, and support along her own dream path without contaminating it with mine. Is it possible to give her a clean slate when so many shiny paths are already laid out all around her, each one of them full of promises that are only skin deep? Will these sparkly pebbles still leave confusing shadow imprints, even if I clear these slippery perils from her path? Will I be able to spare her mind and spirit from being dulled by senseless, obsessive preoccupations about body image? Will she be able to embrace and hone the creative energies that are brewing inside of her as her reservoir of self-expression and sacred connection to the cosmos when flashy messages and rolemodeling all around her show her how to exploit and sexually objectify this powerful and mysterious energy in her body?
Grandmother Moon linked these questions about my daughter's path with my reluctance to write my newsletter and my hallmark epiphany. Both of these are related to my struggles in preserving the validity and value of my soul path, and my daughter, along with girls and women like her, are the ones who I most want to reach out to.
As soon as I hit this rich chord, mysterious guidance in the form of books, Walking in the Sacred Manner by Mark St Pierre and Tilda Long Soldier, The Tacit Dimension by Michael Polanyi, The Ten Faces of Innovation by Tom Kelley, Science, the Self, and Survival after Death, Children who Remember Previous Lives by Ian Stevenson, crossed my path. When integrating the core messages of these four books, it felt like they were offering me fresh eyes and support to reclaim my implicit knowing and attunement to earth's cycles. Rather than just drawing from implicit knowledge that I was exposed to and picked up in this life, Ian Stevenson's research makes a strong case that embodied knowing can cross over from previous lives and/or activated through direct transmissions and serendipitous guidance from other dimensions, which is how many medicine women are initiated in indigenous cultures of North America.
Most compelling was the pull to watch Boyhood, the breakthrough coming-of-age movie, filmed with the same cast of actors doing improv-like scenes that were carefully scripted, inspired by broad real-life events, and shot for 3 days every year for 12 consecutive years. The movie's lay-out closely resembled the structure of my book. However, unlike Boyhood's director Richard Linklater, my inner narrator and orchestrator followed a soul-coded story script before I was 10 years old that was more implicit, free-form, and organic than the loose structured blue-print that he had drafted ahead of time.
In my longitudinal self-study, nothing was staged or deliberated beforehand. I captured raw and real-time moments along my path in an imaginary journal or on paper when they were ripe and full of juicy, soul-nourishing story-line potential, like this piece that wrote itself word by word.
As I actively look for another outlet for this voice that extends my story beyond my memoir, I already know that it will advocate for the mysterious divine energy that caused too many of our foremothers and contemporary sensitive souls to be shunned as lunatic for responding to Grandmother Moon's calling like the waves of the ocean. Retreating, restoring, releasing, and breaking on the sea shore in cycles, each one at its own pace, similar to the interlocking large and small wheels in a grandmother clock.
I now see that it is the structure of my story that is extraordinary, and can back up my extraordinary claims that the energy that lives in us is as vast and wise as the cycles of the sun, moon, earth, planets, stars, and the galactic center, that gift us night and day, the weekly phases of the moon, quarterly seasons of the year, our natal charts, and many other astrological cycles. And that we, as girls and women, have advantaged potential in accessing this wisdom thanks to our ancient, much unchanged physiology, embodying the co-creative powers of story weaving and reclaiming of our true self by trusting the intuitive pulses that arise from our sacred wombs. We can teach ourselves and the men in our lives how to appreciate and listen to natural cycles and mysterious, ever-expanding life force that moves, like our breath, through all of us and the cosmos in a myriad of ways.