Swan Blessing Story – The Deer and Vow to Keep the Healer as Secret

Stag Woman by Alice Savage

The link between the Deer and Women and ancestral wisdom is huge. I have this confirmed to me again and again when I sit in journeying circles with women all over the world and wrote about healing with Deer in a piece I called She Wears the Crown. Recently I have begun holding Swan Blessing sessions: Hag Stone and Animal Wife that explore the ancestral stories held in our spirits from lifetimes of our own lineage and also past lives to see where and how we lost connection to our natural abilities to connect to the earth and to heal. In the Animal Wife sessions we recover and reclaim our ‘animal soulskin’ the instinctive and wild gifts of nature. Like the Selkie seal woman who had to forfeit her sealskin (soulskin) and gifts to live amongst humans I believe we have also become divorced from our natural animal instincts due patriarchy and institutionalisation. We have been forced to obey man made laws over the natural Lore of the land and her plants and her people.

Again and again as I journey beside women as they recover their ancestral stories, the Deer makes herself known and when she is recovered such a feeling of gentle wisdom and intuition is gifted back to the us. Through my own connection to the Deer I have met talented artists and healers, such as Alice Savage who drew this incredible drawing above after being inspired by a doll that I had created for my own healing when I moved to Sherbrooke Forest 4 years ago. The doll now lives with Alice and I am this drawing now lives in my home. I called her Stag Woman because I felt she helped me to bridge and create symbiosis between my feminine and masculine traits and natures and to heal my fears of living in the forest again and sharing Swan Blessing in a world that still struggles to make peace with the purity and wisdom of the witch, the healer and the seer. I am only realising now, years later that in creating the Swan Blessing to recover the Soulskin of our personal animal ally and spirit marriage, that she was my first introduction to the Animal Wife.

Today I share Gemma-Kate’s personal Swan Blessing story of a lifetime where she had to make a vow to keep the gifts of her lineage and her Grandmothers a secret. She had to hide her ability as a healer, the one gift that made her most proud had to become her deepest hidden part of herself. When we hide our greatest treasure it can sometimes create such a fracture in our spirit that we almost split into two personalities. We sometimes become the warrior in the world to protect what is the most vulnerable – our own spirit. When I met Gemma-Kate I recognised her as one of ‘Vali’s Daughters’ another wild and beautiful woman touched by the magic of Australian artist, Vali Myers. I could see Gemma-Kate’s power and strength and she told me how she was a veterinarian nurse and animal rescuer who had to step away from working in conventional ways and institutions with animals because something older and deeper told her that some of the practices used there were harming the animals instead of healing them. I saw this was a huge wound for her and I could also see the enormous amount of wisdom and healing abilities within her. I was honoured when she contacted me to tell me she was ready to journey with the Swan.

Swan Journey:

“I no longer need to hide the person I am, the gifts that were given to me as a woman. I can be true. I can follow my path as intended, and most importantly, share my gift to others.”

“I am taken to a waterfall. There is dappled sunlight bouncing off the lush greenery. Butterflies flutter in the grass. I journey through the water, through the veil of water, and find myself in a dark cave. There is a pool of water in a natural basin. I look into the water, and find looking back at me, an old woman. Her hair is white, her skin deeply wrinkled with years of emotions, and pale, no longer showing the flush of youth. Her eyes. Her eyes!! They are the palest blue, like topaz. They tell a thousand stories and are full of sorrow. I feel she is me. I look up into the cave and now see a dwelling. A woman’s dwelling within the cave. A secret hideaway. Her secret hideaway. My secret hideaway.

I am led into the forest. I know this place. It already exists in my mind. I walk towards a clearing. A place where we sung and danced and celebrated. I leave the forest, and head to my home nearby. I live here with my sisters. I am the eldest. I am 42. I have been the parent. Our parents have been taken. I am a spinster because of this, and I hide many secrets. Secrets I only share with my sisters. We keep herbs of all kinds. We are healers.

I am taken to another time in the same place. I am much younger. Only a girl. I am playing in the long grasses on the fringe of the forest, where the grass is thick from plenty of sunlight. My sisters and I hear the horses coming, and we are very close to the road leading to the small cluster of houses. We are hidden well, and we can see they are soldiers. They have come to take people. There is talk from the townsfolk about the group of people in these dwellings. They have come to punish us for our old ways. My family are safe. This time at least. We all make a vow to keep secret our gift, and our knowledge. I feel shameful.

I now find myself back in the cave with the woman. I realise now her sorrow. She has lived a life predominantly in solitude, the only place her secrets are safe. She receives comfort from the plants and animals, and they her. I feel a tight force, a weight, binding my chest, restricting my breath. I see white rags binding me. They look like sacred cloth from the religion that has destroyed the ways of life of my people. I notice the sensation that the cloth is loosening. The old woman is using her mind to release the rags. She only needs her mind, because these rags represent our sacred vow. She is releasing me from the ties that bind me. She is taking away my shame. She is telling me it is safe now. I am feeling so much emotion now. I have been crying throughout, but now I feel it in my chest and throat, where the cloths had once been. I am released, I have freedom, and I am led to waters at the bottom of the waterfall. I bathe in the waters. I am now healed.

I am now on the edge of the water, and I feel the swan embrace me. Her huge, warm, loving wings engulf me. I feel so much love. I feel white and yellow. We fly, but I notice little. I am surrounded by light. Then we are walking. I am grounded. I am aware. We are walking in my forest, toward the clearing, for this is a celebration. The sun is shining bright and the air is crisp. There are many small creatures here, there always is. I look towards the edge of the clearing, where the trees begin. Grazing at the edge of the grass is a deer. A doe. She looks up at me, and she ‘sees’ me. We exchange a long gaze. She is my guide. She is my medicine. She is so gentle, and I realise it is her I fiercely protect in life. She is what I am tough, brave and strong for. I realise how much I have pushed her away.

I am now asked to repeat something three times. I am so emotional that I am having trouble forming words. So emotional that the exact words evade me. What I feel as I repeat this sentence, this new vow, is that I no longer need to hide the person I am, the gifts that were given to me as a woman. I can be true. I can follow my path as intended, and most importantly, share my gift to others.”

Gemma-Kate 2017

I was so thrilled this week to see Gemma-Kate in a new state of beauty, transformation and vulnerability. She had cut off all of her hair and was wearing colours I had never seen before. She looked like a beautiful butterfly with the wise eyes of the magical and gentle Doe. I felt that I was seeing Gemma-Kate’s spirit in it’s true form – no longer split but embracing her strength and vulnerability at the same time. She also told me that she is now actively sharing and opening her heart to her healing gifts again. I look forward to seeing her magic I’ve got a feeling it will be big. Thank you Gemma-Kate for showing us your Deer heart and sharing your story here.

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Golden Antlers – Swan Blessing Ancestral Folklore and New Sessions

Artwork: The Wood Witch by Nadia Turner

Today at the full moon eclipse in Leo I share with you the Swan Blessing story of the vow to close down a Grandmother’s teachings. This is the swan story received by artist and tattooist, Victoria Rose on Mt Tamborine in Queensland. It was also the very first Swan Blessing session that I held in Australia after journeying through the lands of England, Ireland and Scotland leaving dolls for the forgotten and interviewing the guardians and keepers of sacred sites dedicated to the women’s mysteries and healing.

After returning from this journey, I felt even more dedication to working with the Swan to clear the blocks and pain from our own ancestral folklore of the plant healers, seers and storytellers. I was also gifted new experiences and understanding after spending time in Scotland, the land of my own Grandmothers that has led to a deepening of the Swan Blessing work with 3 new journeying sessions:

New Swan Blessing Sessions

The Animal Wife: Dreaming back the animal skin and gifts that have been forfeited to live in the mundane world.

Hag Stone: Tracking and healing the Witch lineage, opening the eye of the Seer.

Family Folklore: Reclaiming the lore of your ancestors & releasing unhealthy family beliefs.

If you would like more information on this next level of Swan Blessing work, you can contact me to discuss what you feel you need.

The Storyteller by Nadia Turner

Victoria Rose and I had had interactions with each other for just over a year and I could feel that she wanted to journey to clear and unblock her own healer’s story but that there was also a lot of resistance. This is completely understandable when we think about the centuries of persecution of women’s medicine and wise ways. I understood the trepidation but let Victoria Rose know that the journey we make with the Swan is always a gentle and loving one. This is her gift to the women – to hold them with great strength and softness as they journey back to heal the fragmented story. We have been through enough trauma, we do not need to experience it again to heal it. We already know the pain, we have been journeying for lifetimes with memories in our DNA from our lineages and grandmothers, we may have memory of past lives and we are also sometimes carrying the collective memory or story of what has happened to the healers, herbalists and witches of the past.

This can lead us to believe that it’s still not safe to share all of our gifts with an open heart and freedom again but I believe the planet needs the people of the earth who are connected to nature and her healing ways more than ever. And the important thing to remember is that we are living in different times and we have so much more support and wisdom opening up again to be shared with love.

We share these stories because they are all our stories. These are part of the ancestral folklore of women’s medicine and wise ways and I hope they bring understanding to anyone who needs them. By releasing the stories of how the wise ways were closed down we create space to write and create new ancestral folklore stories for ourselves, our ancestors and the daughters to come.

Victoria Rose told me after her journey that this was a lifetime and story that she had journeyed to previously but had not been able to heal and complete the teachings. And so instead of empowering her it still frightened her. I believe it’s so very important to come to resolution and healing with our journeys and I was honoured to hold space for this beautiful young artist to reach this resolution with the Swan.

I am healed, I am safe and I will serve as my Grandmother taught me

“I’m in a cave with a deep pool of water. As I look into the reflection, I see a woman. Her hair is dark and her eyes are wild with fear and confusion. This woman is me. I have heavy gold collars hanging from my neck down my chest with a long robe underneath. In a large stone temple, I’m there as a servant to the elites. I’m alone.

How did I get there?

In a beautiful valley. Mountains in the distance, woodlands open out to grass plains. It was here that I learnt the healing arts from my grandmother. This is my home. We provided a service to the community. I was at peace an very happy being connected to the land and my people. I do not want for anything.

One day the authorities turn up at our doorsteps and ask if I would go work in the temple. I refuse. They return and remove me by force. It was in the days after this that I promised I would not use my abilities ever again. This vow did not change what was to come. 

I am back in the cave now. The lady of the sacred well is with me. I can feel a heavy helmet over my head sitting on my shoulders. The lady uses a tool and breaks it open. I am free from this bond and she takes me into the pool. In the healing waters I am scrubbed clean by the Spirit Grandmothers. 

Out of the pool now the Swan has come to take me high in the sky. We are journeying to the Sun. I have gold antlers. Inside the Sun, I’m filled with light and all trauma is burnt away.

The Swan takes me back down to earth. It is time now for me to release the vows I had once spoken. I must say three things.

I am Healed.

I am Safe.

As I try to make my last statement, tears start choking, electricity shoots through me and I am convulsing. 

Finally I say, “I will serve as my Grandmother taught me”.

As I drive home I take a different route down the mountain. I pass black swans beside a pond. 

Thank you Julia for this journey. Throughout I felt held in Truth and honoured. I felt like I was understood and respected. I’m forever changed and have started to integrate parts of myself I had lost. It is an amazing gift you have given me. 

Forever grateful to you and the Swan.”

Victoria Rose, 2016

Artemis by Victoria Rose Tattoo

I am grateful to Victoria Rose for facing her fears and healing this story. She has also courageously shared her story to help anyone who may have similar memories. If you would like to see Victoria Rose’s beautiful artistry and tattooing this is a link to her Instagram page. I think it’s important for us to have artists working on our body that carry magic and healing. I know that many feel that tattooing is also a new way to re-write our ancestral folklore and to break through old laws stopping free expression. Many of us have memory of sacred markings and sigils on our bodies and the bodies of our grandmothers. Embracing tattooing again is like stepping over another threshold into freedom to adorn our bodies as we please and in a ceremonial way again.

Thank you to Nadia Turner who has allowed us to share her beautiful artwork The Wood Witch and The Storyteller as reflections of the new work with the Swan: The Animal Wife and Hag Stone. Please have a look at the rest of her enchanted creations at www.waywardharper.com

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Swan Blessing Story – Spirit Doll of the Sacred Artist

Lakota Doll by Rhonda Holy Bear

Tonight I share Katy’s Swan Blessing story of a past life remembered as a young Native American girl carrying the wisdom of the sacred artist. When faced with the loss of her tribal lands, she made a Vow to Never Submit to the materialistic ways of the modern world. In this lifetime Katy is an artist again and to carry such a binding from the past into this new time was creating many obstacles. Many of us are carrying vows and laws that still forbid us from creating wealth in our present lifetimes and the reasons for these promises were very valid for the times they were made in but do not serve us now. For Katy it was the release of this vow that gave her understanding that she now had permission to create wealth in her life without guilt.  When we imbue our work with sacred energy, which is simply love and intention with the action of making the art itself,  our creations have great worth in our world. In fact, it is very needed at this time. As artisans we must see our craft as a worthy channel for abundance – just as needed as any other role or service. To create with the intention of healing and service and then to charge accordingly for this work is something that is important for us to learn. At the same time we can be discerning and make sure that our work is not being abused, disrespected or copied. We do not need to sell our services to everyone but we can choose who we wish to worth with and for. To accept our own ability to create sacred art again is important because it helps us to also open our minds and hearts to the sacred art of indigenous artists and give it the great honour it deserves. Our sacred art is not a commodity but a gift that creates a circle of abundance that includes the recipient as well as the artist. We can make our whole life a practice of sacred art.

When I met Katy I felt such a bond of sisterhood with her instantly but I had no idea of the way her story was going to ripple out and flow through my own life and through the lives of the women who have also heard her story. When I retold Katy’s Swan Story at a recent workshop it was not shocking to them to hear of a woman who intended to burn a town down for taking away her tribal lands, but a cry moved through the crowd as I told of her spirit doll being thrown onto the fire. As I heard and felt the unrest of the women I realised we all still carried a strong collective memory of carrying our magic in dolls. And that these dolls were not merely toys but living sacred objects, more like little sisters or guardians. I began to remember lifetimes of making Medicine Dolls, Witch Dolls, and Spirit Dolls and how sacred they were to us women in times when we were connected to our ancestral medicine and wise ways.

Amazingly, I had chosen the image of this beautiful and proud doll you see above created by Rhonda Holy Bear because I could feel the sacred essence that it carried and it reminded me of Katy’s Vow. Only tonight did I read the story of how Rhonda came to her artisan craft of doll making. If you click on the image you will go to her website and read the story about how her grandmother’s spirit doll was given away to wealthy tourists – yet another echo of Katy’s story rippling and awakening us to the need to learn to honour sacred craft and indigenous art and a call to us to learn to create our own sacred art and spirit dolls again.

“I didn’t know what to expect from the Swan Blessing. I just had a very clear and direct inner impulse to participate. I have funny problems understanding basic societal constructs like money, so the “vow of poverty” idea really rang a bell for me. I fully expected to see in my past life (if I saw anything at all) a medieval nun, living quietly, disengaged from the world, expecting nothing, with nothing expected of her but simple labour and the contemplation of the divine. That’s not quite how it worked out. It may be that the life I expected to see is there in my secret soul, but it’s certainly not the one that sprang forth and demanded my attention.

A young Native American woman came forward and took my hand. She showed me the ashes of a campfire. In the fire were the remains of a simple handmade doll. The woman with me was now a little girl, and the doll had been made by her, and thrown into the fire by her brother (who was much older, and an important person in her tribe), to teach her a lesson. I felt her child’s anger and confusion, and also her brother’s deep, wild, implacable rage. As I looked around, I saw that her camp, the home of her people, had been burnt to the ground by white men on horses. There was ruin and destruction everywhere, and everything of value was ash. The lesson her raging brother was teaching her by throwing her doll in the fire is that their life as they knew it was finished, that there would be nothing spare for foolishness. 

The next thing I saw was the woman, no longer a child, but still young, lighting a fire.  

This part of the story unravelled backwards: She was lighting a fire. She was lighting a fire at the back of a building. Oh! She’s setting the building on fire. The building is a pub, in a small, still-being-constructed mountain town. She’s so angry. So fucking angry. Why is she so angry? They killed her brother. Who did? The same men. They caught him and killed him, shamefully, publicly, because they were trying to build this town, and he kept attacking them and disrupting their work. So. She sets the town on fire. It burns, and her fury burns, she is utterly consumed and immobile with rage. She is arrested and imprisoned for the rest of her brief time on earth. And the burning vow of her whole life is the rageful shriek that she will never, ever submit. 

She comes to me again, calm now, and shows me how I still carry this vow as big heavy rocks in my hands. Together we smash the rocks into pieces and they crumble away. She hands me her gift, and I see it’s the little doll that her brother threw into the fire, now unburnt. It represents the power I have to make magical objects, and to make objects magical; to weave together disparate and inanimate things and breathe into them life and intelligence and meaning.  

* * * 

I’m an artist, and I’ve always had a very fraught relationship with money. It just doesn’t make sense to me, particularly in relationship with art-making. When I make artwork, it’s always something that can’t really be  bought or sold. It’s films, or crazy installations that fall apart if you touch them, or giant inflatable whatchamacallits; for me, their very purpose is to be not-of-this-world. If they fit neatly into somebody’s everyday life then they’re not doing their jobs as other-worldly triggers. They’re sacred objects. They don’t get turned into a commodity. But then, on the other hand,  when I try to figure out how to make money, it’s ALWAYS some kind of making-something-that-is-most-emphatically-NOT-the-sacred-object kinda thing. And I always feel weird about it, and I’m really stingy with my attention. And it always feels unfocused and wrong, and it’s always this big inner conflict, and it’s always a struggle. And I sort of hate the thing I’m making. And the enterprise usually collapses and I’m secretly relieved. 

At the moment I make these embroidered patches and sell them in my shop, and to other shops. They’re definitely NOT art, but people like them and they sell quite well. I’ve been having my usual funny struggles with it; weird panics at markets, the urge to sabotage the business. The weekend after the Swan Blessing, my husband and I hosted a big party in the forest, for about a hundred people. It started looking like it was going to be really big, and we didn’t really know what to expect, and we were a bit nervous. We arrived a day early to set up, so in the morning before people were due to arrive, I put on the poncho I had made out of blankets, made a sign, and set out another blanket on the ground, put all my patches out on display, sat down and waited. 

I suddenly felt very, very, very weird. Like all of this was incredibly familiar. I have never in my whole life experienced Deja Vu until this moment. And then, just to drive the point home, somebody wandered past and said “Wow, you look exactly like an American Indian selling crafts by the side of the road!”  I couldn’t even answer them, because everything was just thrumming and humming and glowing and feeling so weird. And it was just like it all fell into place. I know now why money is so uncomfortable for me, and why this is being triggered so hard at this point in my life. I think this conflict is HER conflict. Like, her inborn magic was to make sacred objects, but then her tribe’s way of life got destroyed, and then, traumatised, she had to find new ways of living and fitting into the foreign currency structure that had been imposed on her, and her magic got degraded and and turned into crappy commodity-trinket-making. And that felt like submission, and that felt terrible and wrong. 

*** 

The animal companion that was given to me by Tony at the Swan Blessing was the chipmunk. At first this seemed a bit incongruous; this cheeky, busy, funny, lighthearted creature didn’t seem to sit comfortably with this giant vision of rage and burning that I’d just experienced. But the next day a couple of things struck me: One, that this was a creature I used to see a lot in my childhood in Colorado. (My vision absolutely and unequivocally occurred in Colorado as well. Funny.) The other thing is that this is a creature who knows how to prepare for winter, but doesn’t make a big deal about it, or agonise over it; it just goes about it’s cheeky life, and trusts its own ability to take care of its own business… it just follows its instincts, stuffing nuts in its chubby cheeks all summer, and then has a big pile of nuts to sleep on through the winter. Maybe the feeling I keep having in my life, that I don’t understand these basic laws about how the material world works, how to make and keep money, how to connect effort with reward, things that everybody else seems to intuitively understand and be able to work with, come from being tied to this past life of chaos and desperation and imprisonment. Maybe some of the fallout in this life has been my feeling like a foreigner when it comes to these basic self-determining and self-care strategies. So maybe it’s not as complicated and mysterious as I think, and if I just channel that little stripy guy, the state of Usefulness and Plenty will just happen as a natural side effect of my instinctive life, rather rather than something I try to consciously build through the force of my will.”   

Katy 2013

Thank you Katy for opening your heart and sharing your Swan Blessing story. By releasing her Vow to Never Submit, Katy has opened up a channel to abundance and understands that this channel will be of her own making. In this lifetime we are free to share our deepest and most sacred art again without fear and under our own authority. The gift of release teaches us that we are allowed to create and share in abundance and that possessions do not need to be void of sacred energy but instead can be beautiful vessels of magic and love – Art with Soul. With intention, belief and love we turn the mundane into the sacred. I am very excited to see the magical and sacred art that Katy creates now that she has released the bindings of that lifetime.

You can see some of the beautiful community building that Katy is involved in through her shop Desire Books in Manly, Sydney. Just have a look at the creative projects she offers to children, musicians, writers… If you are in Desire’s neck of the woods pop in and enjoy!

Thank you Katy for opening up this sacred pathway to the Dreamer for myself and for many, many other women.

Swan Blessing Story: Awakening the Black Serpent

At the New Moon Eclipse on Friday I received the treasured gift of Emily’s Swan Blessing story. It is a story that led her to create the beautiful image and message you see below her story. Emily’s Swan Story is one of great darkness and beauty and that is the gift of Swan – that she can take you safely into what feels like the darkest cave of memory to discover that this place, when named and reclaimed, is filled with gold. I believe the Dark Mother holds our treasures, gifts and wise medicine for us in the lifetimes where we feel we have had to bind it or forget it until we feel strong enough to return and reclaim our birthright gifts again.

Bright love to you Emily for your beautiful courage to awaken the Black Serpent of your Wise Medicine and for sharing your story. For those who resonate with Emily’s story I hope that in the reading, comes great unbinding and release.

Dear Julia, 

It’s taken me a full cycle to begin to discover the power that was unbound by your swan blessings at the Seven Sisters Festival (I came to both the Friday afternoon and Sunday morning). I am so grateful to you for the gifts you shared and what has been awakened in me.

I was quite frightened and disturbed by my past self and by my animal guide. She was angry and vengeful…her black eyes spitting vicious spite at me. She looked proud and Roman…somewhere dusty and crowded. She had cut out her own tongue to bind her magic and power, to punish and prevent herself from practicing evil. I felt this as barbed wire around my throat and heart.

The first unbinding came from my animal guide…it emerged from the darkness as a huge black serpent, terrifyingly beautiful and powerful, with glowing red eyes and glistening black scales. I shook with fear as it rushed towards me, towards the barbed wire. It wound its strong body around my legs, up around my hips and chest and somehow just melted the barbed wire away.

The second unbinding came from the crone…she handed me a black stone knife and I knew it was the same knife She had used to cut out her tongue. I thrust it into the pool, shattering its surface into light. WE ARE FREE. Her power is my power. My healing light is her healing light. I am free to choose to speak the truth, to never speak evil. It is my choice and my power to wield. 

The black serpent was there to guide me, to travel with me on my journey. It sinuously slid away and I ran after it, rushed through the darkness. We easily merged into one and travelled through the dark, unafraid. We are power, energy, in direct connection with the earth. We wrap the ones we love with our whole body and strength, entwined with love, hearts beating together in the darkness. We shed many skins. We never act in anger, spite or evil. We are protective. We are guardians of light and truth.

This freedom and power has awakened many of my old dreams and childhood memories and activated the way to move forward and create new dreams, new ways of working and healing people’s bodies and souls – not just with my hands (as an osteopath) but with colour, collage, art and movement. Using my heart and my voice that have both been silent for too long!

I hope to visit you in the forest soon, to continue unbinding my power and activating my soul’s purpose. To find more love and less fear. To let my heart crack open.  I have attached a card I made after the Swan Blessings. I only just found its voice today.  EMILY

Card: Awakening the Black Serpent created by Emily after Swan Blessing

The Black Serpent

I am one who is powerful, strong, terrifying. I have been hidden in you for a long time. I am waking up inside you.
I give you your power. Don’t be afraid. Destructive energy comes hand in hand with creative energy. You need me to create/birth the New.
I want you to stand in your own power, to be strong and unafraid, to speak up for yourself, to speak your truth.
Remember that you can shed your skin like a snake. There are infinite layers and ways of being. No need to feel stuck. Call on me to help shed your skin, to be more your True Self.


Swan Blessing Story – Child of the Forest

The Barefoot Princess – Igor Oleynikov

Today I share the Swan Blessing story written by Kat or Kat-Fox as I call her. I never could really put my finger on why I called Kat that until her Swan Blessing and then I got a glimpse of the beautiful, wild girl that had been bound by a Past Life Vow of Silence. This is Kat’s story of the untamed child, the child of the forest and how this wild knowing, our intuition, can be taught through nature, through the land itself. Even in present times, the self-taught child, the one who is comfortable playing on her own, or the child who communes more easily with trees and animals is still feared and misunderstood. Thankfully we are waking up. We are opening and I hope that we will find new ways to welcome the wild child, to learn from her before it is trained or tamed out of her. Those secrets of the wild world. It is time to lift our Vows of Silence, to break the ties that bind our voices, our unique expression. For all who feel this ancient restriction, particularly around the throat chakra, find ways to speak and write and sing your words – let the wise trees be your first audience.

She emerged from the waterfall and stepped towards me. Her skin was glowing olive smooth. She had toiled, but not in the sun. Her green almond-shaped eyes held the memory of a smile. Her white fine hair cascaded in waves down her back. She trod lightly, silently, her back was rod-straight.She led me back to her home, the entrance of which seemed to be an invisible knot in the trunk of a tree. Her home was without edges and warm with dusk light. A wooden table with two chairs, a few pots and pans, a kettle. Little but ample. Herbs drying in bunches hanging from the ceiling.Tea poured, she took my hands and looked into my eyes. My breath seared my throat as she took me back… 

A small girl, about eight years old, playing. A perfect circle of light gleaming down through the tall trees onto her honey curls. She lay on her belly, her feet languidly searching for clouds oblivious to the butterflies dancing between them. Her play was serious, focused: naming the plants for herself, steeping them in her kettle, experimenting.Barefoot she ran, darting between knees and dodging heavy baskets, through the dark clouded marketplace. She headed precisely to her destination, barely detected but not oblivious to predators. She approached his tiny table quietly, head bowed respectfully. He was small and gnarly, and benignly nodding his ragged grey beard towards the tiny bundle of sticks at the end of the table. She pawed them nimbly, knowing they were exactly what she had been seeking. With silent thanks, she turned and disappeared into the darkness, flying towards her clearing, eager to progress her research.A dark cloud loomed across those almond-shaped eyes as rivers streamed down our cheeks…They came for her: tall, black, hooded, angular. Grabbing her roughly by the arms, lifting her feet from the earth. She kicked and screamed, writhed and bit, like a wild wild thing. She summoned the image of her protectors: young, love, glowing. They were far far away, and could not help her now. The marketplace table of the gnarly old man was empty, his chair smashed on the cobblestones.
Times were changing.All that she had done, all that she had been, was wrong. A threat. Her solitude, her freedom, her enquiry, her craft: unacceptable. And those hooded ones: they did not even know half her story. 

Twenty years…
That wild girl who had run like a fox and communed with the trees in a circle of light now lived somewhere stone, cold, square. Her back was straight. Her mouth firmly closed. Her eyes hooded, downcast. Her wild hair pulled back, lank and dull. She walked with muted purpose alongside those long cold walls. She washed, she swept.At night she lay staring up at the blank ceiling, that thick coarse rope biting into her back. Gritting her teeth she vowed that she would never completely dampen her flame, that ember in her womb, that spark of curiosity, that life that had been hers. One day, she knew, she would walk right out of that place. Until then, she would not speak, she would not sigh, she would hardly breathe.And then, that day came. It was all over.
Her chin rose, eyes meeting the horizon…The gates of that forbidding place were prized open by forces completely unknown and entirely irrelevant to her. Without loyalty, without regret and without rancour, she walked as she always had done: unseen. In the midst of the chaos. Right out of those front gates. As the walls crumbled around her. She walked.No direction but forward. She walked and walked and walked. Never looking back and never to return.The place that she found was not so different from that clearing where she had played as an ancient child. She made her home, stripping bark and twig slowly from one gnarly old man tree, taking her time, open to the gifts of the forest spirits and the seasons.She looked me straight in the eye. She saw me and showed me what I needed to see…
That vow of silence: it bound her forever. It was a vow she had been forced to take, symbolised by the rough rope binding her waist, constricting her breath, knots slicing into her spine. That ache would never quite leave her.The daughters of the well emerged from the waterfall and ignited the rope. It disintegrated to ashes, which dispersed on the breeze. We saw that we were now safe to nurture that ember, the flame that had been dampened for so many years. We understood we would nourish it back to crackling roaring life, one golden feather-like filament at a time.
This was our work.My almond-eyed olive-skinned crone took my hands for one last time.
She was safe. She welcomed fatigue, hunger, cold. She could endure.She lived alone and invisible to most. She was never lonely.And she healed, those tiny ones had started to arrive. Tiny as she had once been. Wordlessly peering into her window, gratefully pawing a lovingly-bundled collection of sticks carefully placed on the table within a small arm’s reach, knowing that it was exactly what they had been seeking. 

Post script: I have had a lower disc injury in my back, the origins of which has – up until the Swan Blessing – always been a mystery to me. 

Post post script: Whilst undertaking the Ninth Wave Water Rites to complete the Swan Blessing, I received my calling: to heal with words. Daughter of a nurse and an educator, gifted with words, I finally saw my life’s true purpose. The vow of silence, the prohibition on healing, had been broken. For this, I will be eternally grateful to Julia and Tony, and the daughters of the well.

Thank you Kat-Fox or Kat McNally as some of you may already know her, through Kat’s writings and blog: I Saw You Dancing.  Tony and I are thrilled that you received the message about your true vocation in your Swan Blessing. Love to you Wordsmith and we can’t wait to read and hear your beautiful healing stories. The fox is free xx

Swan Blessing Story: The Outcast

Sylvia Ji – Shapeshifters
On this Full Moon morning we share with you Kristan’s Swan Blessing Story of the Outcast. In her past life, Kristan belonged to a tribe that could not accept the powerful medicine that she carried. In her tribe this medicine was seen as taboo for woman to hold. She was asked to obey or to leave. She chose to say NO to the tribe so that she could say YES to her spirit.

Many of us have experienced similar stories in past lives and in our present lives. We have felt that to truly be ourselves, we must journey alone. Or we have put up with behaviour that hurts us just to stay a part of the tribe whether that tribe is family, society, peers. In this time of the rise of the Divine Feminine we are being called out of the shadows to embrace all of our natural gifts and to release the fear of being rejected and cast out by those who do not understand or accept us. Saying NO when it is right for us is a practice of honouring ourselves. When we release the belief that there was ever anything ‘wrong’ with us we remember that we are all creatures of the earth – as individual as every animal and plant and an integral part in the wheel of life.

Looking into the waters of the crystal ball of consciousness, I stared and I waited and I imagined I would not see anything. And I saw nothing for what felt like such a long, long time, I was beginning to feel I would not see, that my mind was too strong to allow my soul to show me what I needed and wanted to see

I stayed with prayer, asking and pleading at one moment to see, please let me see  . . .  and then the mists began to clear and I could see a clearing in the mountains, green pine all around, the smell of freshness and soil, and a teepee 

And horses, many horses And then I saw HER, myself in another time By the teepee, the wild life of the mountains surrounding HER  Ah, she was alone, living an isolated life, no tribe, a sadness surrounded herI could also sense an understanding, acceptance of her situation as the best possible outcome for her at that time and place We saw each other, she smiledI could see her deer skin clothing, her turquoise choker with red beads HER long, long braids of dark black hair I could feel HER and I felt a relief that we had met, that the veils had parted and that we could meet I began to track why she was alone in the woods, her only communication with the forest life; the birds, woodland creatures, trees, the natural world who heard her and loved her 

A new vision appeared
I found myself within a tribe of teepees A fire A Father, a Chief at the door of his teepee
And a Mother and more children (my siblings) sitting at the door of her teepee I stood by my Father, the Chief as he asked me again if I would do what was expected of me
and again, the 12 year old HER (me) said NO
I would NOT
 

I was banished from my tribe 

For being who I was For speaking who I was For saying NO to what was not true for me I caught the eye of my mother and she caught mine sadness but understanding i saw there
and in my father too, not as cheif, but as my father a sadness and again an understanding
And away SHE went, alone, to live a life of isolation, to be herself
Again, I find myself back at HER teepee This time we connect, we stand in a pool of water, a water fall, falling behind us The vines from below come up, writhing and cover her, strangle her, snake like she is bound
 I connect with HER, I cut with my teeth the binding reedy vines I free HER She smiles at me, she becomes as of light and as a shooting star Returns  

The wounding: I will be rejected, cast out, banished from my tribe if I am myself, authentic and truth speaking, if I say NO to what does not feel right I release this binding, this wounding as I bite and free the vines of that lifetime  

The blessing: authentic, true and free, I express myself fully, I am my actualized self, accepted, loved and cherished by my tribe, now and for eternity

Thank you Kristan Read, for sharing your beauty, strength and truth. Kristan is a Shamanic Midwife, Teacher and crafting creatrix extraordinaire! You can experience Kristan’s inspiring medicine for yourself through her work at www.atmypractice.com and www.thecrafthive.com
For those who resonate with Kristan’s Swan Blessing Story we encourage you to come forward to release the binding ties of past life vows and promises and the beliefs and fears that held within them. We will be sharing The Swan Blessing from our new nest, ‘Bundaleer’ (amongst the trees) in Sherbrooke Forest from 11th February 2013 and are already taking bookings.