Tierra mi cuerpo
Agua mi sangre
Aire mi aliento
Y fuego mi espiritu
I learned this song when the plants guided me to my first plant spirit training. We would sing the song during spiritual plant limpias (cleanings) and when we would harvest plants. It always spoke to me in a deep way. A prayer to the elements called out to my own inner elements, a yearning to deepen my relationship with Mother nature and all her fierce, yet gentle teachings. Over the years I noticed each soul journey I took was bringing up a element that wanted to be integrated. I started with air and ether, balancing the ungrounded winds that would sweep me away. The last element I am integrating is fire and its been the longest journey, that has given me the most potent and hardest challenges but well worth it!
I have always loved fire even at a young age, I remember staring into the camp fires and being sent into a deep trance, as if there was a void all around me, sounds would dissipate and I would become the fire. As I got older starting a fire became a challenge that brought up so much anger, rage, anxiety, nervous tension, a overwhelmed feeling or I would freeze. I was aware that the fire brought up so much for me and I didn't know how to work with the element in a healing way. When I was in Peru I was in charge of starting the fire every morning so I could cook breakfast. I would dread waking up to the tension that people were depending on me to start the flame, as soon as I would get the flame started it would go out and after numerous tries I would give up.
Four years ago I had a deep yearning to learn and understand temazcal ceremonies with a teacher in Mexico. This certainly was the hook to have me face the fire once again and connect to the fire element! When it came time for me to light the fire for the temazcal my teacher looked at me and said I was not ready "you still have too much anger to heal before working with the temazcal, you may be able to light the fire but the wind of anger comes behind and blows the fire out." Her words sat with me for a few more years, I kept attracting situations where I was asked to light the fire. I learned how to do agnihotra ceremonies at my yoga training and worked through alot of layers with the fire. I practiced every morning for a month to make a fire with cow dung and ghee in a copper pyramid. I still found my stomach turning at the thought of lighting a fire, to face what I wanted to transform. I started praying to the fire to help me, so I started rising early to practice making fires in my home, where I could go at my own pace, building trust and confidence with myself.
In November I had a friend who moved to Antigua, Guatemala, a place that has never been on my radar. But something deep within was calling me, so I went on another soul journey and bought a one way ticket to Guatemala. She was the hook to get me there. I was in search to meet Mayan elders who I could learn from and be involved in earth based ceremonies. I was led to the elders after a fall that resulted in breaking my right wrist. When I was treated by a Doctor in Antigua I knew I had to seek out a traditional bone setter to correct the malpractice. I was led to Nan Chila through a friend who was connected with a Mayan family that led me to the bone setter. It really was pure magic how it happened. The night I arrived to the bone setters house I immediately felt her fire energy and healing energy. She counted on her fingers to determine my Mayan sign and number, so that she could see my soul path and look at why the accident may of happened. I was immediately adopted by two separate families who carry the Mayan lineage of the Ancestors, they have been a stable rock as I continue to heal. They recommended I do a personal fire ceremony to clear any karmas from the past, so that I could move forward on my path and relieve me from any future accidents. This was the first fire ceremony I attended that was personalized and where I felt deeply connected to my ancestors and adopted ancestors. At this moment I knew my connection to my own fire element was being liberated. I stood at the fire and wept, all the anger left me; for the first time I received the fire as a potent ally, where I was ready to transmute all old believes from the past.
The fire was asking me to set down my baggage and be done carrying the heaviness. To be free and ask for strength to receive, a stern message that now is not the time to be giving. I celebrated my 37th year face to face with the fire element. A week later I found myself at my healers house while a fire ceremony was about to happen and then I kept getting invited to more. I showed up and faced every flame, resting on my knees, kissing the earth with so much gratitude. These potent experiences will continue to be a part of my life. I still cry for every flame, seeing all the woman healers who were burned for knowing the wisdom of nature. For all the ancestors that stepped into the fire, carving the path for many woman to bring forth the medicine. For now I lay the battle within to rest and ask for grace and determination to transmute the history of our woman. Yet this time we wont be burned at the stake for communing with mother nature nor the elements. I invite you to meditate on a vision you are trying to birth. Sit with it for 30 days and feed the intention into a candle or fire. See what is transmuted, you may be very surprised at the results. Call in your ancestors or adopted ancestors to stand around you in a circle and receive the gifts with your left hand.
A dove from my heart, Sondra
Ruda (Ruta graveolens)
My teacher Estela tells me "Ruda es para el áire". Everytime I come to Peru Ruda screams to me afar, every corner I turn she is blossoming her healing energy and the smell of her lures me toward her, until I say hola in a gentle voice, she allows me to use her for medicine and healing. Rue was a big teacher of mine when I entered Herbal school. I was first introduced to Ruda in Mexico from Curanderas and, soon after I learned of her stern nature when apprenticing at Herb Pharm. It was a sunny day and we were tending to the field of Rue all day, I knew she was phototoxic but I ignored covering my skin all the way. I now believe my subconscious really wanted to see what would happen, a way of playing with fire! Photo-toxicity can occur If the oils of rue get on your skin and then your skin is exposed to direct sun, it will turn to a severe burn for light skinned individuals. By the end of the work day I had blisters on my lower arm. From that point on Rue and I developed a close relationship and I go running to her when I see her in Peru or Mexico! where she is revered as a divine force.
Rue is used to treat various sufferings as well as some illnesses, such as headache, stomach ache, or parasites. It's also used for bad wind, or wayra mala, as the elders of Cuzco, Peru call dizziness. This notion of a twisting, bad wind is also used to speak about evil spirits or just bad energy. When people are struck by this wind, they pick some stems of rue and pass it over the head, forehead, and neck, before burning it. If when the rue burns it bursts then people know it took away the evil wind. There are two kinds of rue, male and female. The qualities of the female are found in the small leaves and flowers which it produces in abundance. The male has larger leaves and a different type of leaf though it is harder to find. According to the women who sell rue in the market, the correct way to use the plant requires bringing the male and female together so you can get greater power. Some say that in this way it represents Andean dualism. The plant is also used as an amulet and sign of good fortune. People will carry rue leaves and flowers in their coin purses or wallets and purses to attract money. It is a good sign when while walking in the city you run across a branch of rue with flowers or seeds. It augers for good fortune. Whenever I travel to Peru I use Rue and a egg for limpias (healing) either on myself or others. It can be a useful tool in places that attract alot of awakening, where energies can easily penetrate the etheric body.
The egg is used to cleanse a human being of physical, mental, and spiritual energies that have entered from others or their own emotions. Prayer, healing plants, and copal smoke are rubbed all over the body starting at the crown chakra and moving down the other chakras and limbs, cleansing the etheric emotional and spiritual body of any unwanted energies. The egg represents life and the yolk is a map of the physical body. The egg is then cracked into a glass of water and read by the healer, some healers read the egg once the patient leaves so they will have insight into the patients healing. The egg is then offered to pachamama. In Peru a egg cleansing is called soplo and in Mexican Curanderismo they refer to it as limpia.
Performing a soplo healing on yourself can be beneficial in the first step of taking your healing into your own hands or if you do not have a healer in your area that can perform a egg cleansing on you.
1. Find a safe sacred space that is free of distractions, light copal resin or sage and continue to burn during the whole process. Light a candle and set your intention for the healing.
2. Start standing or sitting, place an egg on the crown chakra moving the egg around the head in a circular direction, more pressure is better. Move to the arms and hands, then back to face, neck, upper back, chest, heart, breast, stomach, down inner and outer legs, bottoms of feet, back up to lower back. A good tip to remember is to start on the head, (moving in the four direction), the arms representing east and west and the legs represent south.
3. Allow your intuition to guide you, if the egg wants to direct your hand to a specific area on the body then allow it too. After you have rubbed the whole body, place the egg over the belly button and direct your breath into the egg, letting go of any remaining energies that are not yours.
4. Give the egg back to the earth or the egg can be read, but this is only done by trained Curanderos who have learned to read eggs.