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November 15, 2003

My ladies group

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Here's where I blow my cover as a plump, middle class, menopausal suburban housewife. Let me write about my latest womens' group. I have been in one form of women's group or another for thirty years. They have varied in purpose, depending on my developmental stage. I've also been in mixed gender groups, one of which is celebrating it's twenty fifth anniversary. It's my way of making up for being an only child.

Which brings me to my latest group. We are all working individually with our leader, and she brought us together, telling us each we had alot of shamanic energy and could use a healing group. We all said "sure", but basically didn't know what she was talking about. Our leader is a healer from a line of Jungian theologians. She believes that light, love and compassion are paramont - especially for entry into the fourth and fifth dimension. (This is what I think we're doing - briinging the instinctual, from earth energy through the body into the light using heart energy, but I could be wrong, and I'm not sure what it means). Our leader wryly calls herself an urban shaman, a musician and sound healer. She is full of light, love and compassion. She also has alot of girlfriend energy and likes to talk about clothes and hair and Allure and People. Even though being a shaman is serious business we laugh alot, I should say ALOT. Our leader says that laughing is part of the light.

We meet by the sea in a loft with a huge skylight, over a coffee shop called "Heaven" (no kidding, that's why I had to take a picture) and a boutique of sacred objects, like Black Madonnas and Tibetan Buddas. (It's very expensive. I have yet to invest in my first sacred object, but the shop is handy if ever I decide to take the plunge.)

Our leader has quite a large collection of sacred objects which she shares with us. She also has a number of instruments which we use in our healings, you know, rattles and drums. Yesterday she brought in a huge crystal singing bowl that she could hardly get her arms around. She let us play it. When it was time for my piece of work, I said I wanted it propped on my back and played. The vibration is very fine, like a bass crystal wineglass. I can call up the feeling in my back now.

There are five of us in the group. Some of us struggle with too much yang, and others with too much yin - masculine, feminine, expressive, contempletive. I personally suffer from too much yin - servant energy, characterized by downward cast of eye, hunched shoulders, shame, repression. I am pleased that I am having a yang breakthrough with this blog, expression. Others have too much yang, taking on too many presentations, writing too much, traveling so that they have no contempletive time. They are trying to slow down and balance their lives, get out of their heads into their bodies. Two of us have lost mothers early, the rest have narcissistic, borderline mothers Understanding the Borderline Mother by Christina Ann Lawson - excellent read on the subject) one of each: a queen, a waif and a witch.

Some of us are dealing with past life trauma, most of us have enough in this one to keep us busy. We're all pretty evolved considering what we've been through, rape (2), suicide (1), incest (1), sexual abuse of our own children (2), loss of a child to adoption (1), loss of close sibling (2) early loss of mother (2), lunatic mother (3). This may not be the complete list, since we don't talk all that much in group and we're just getting to know one another. Seems like between us we have all the flavors of trouble a girl could have. Collectively we've probably done a hundred years of psychotherapy. We have much to "clear", patterns from which to free ourselves, "forms" to exorcise. Our leader tells us that as we do it for our own benefit, the universe benefits too. We chose believe her because we don't like to think of ourselves as complete lunatics. We have made many jokes about doing the stuff we do in the group in front of others, especially our husbands, and watching their horror.

We start every group with a brief catch up and then get down to business. Usually someone prostrates herself on cushions on the floor and the rest of us are called into position around her. Sometimes I get a feeling (which our leader calls guidance) to go to some part of the prostrated's body. Then we start to tone. Toning is what Tibetan monks do in their temples - that low, rhythmic froglike chant. Since we're girls, we have a better range of upper tones. I have a particular gift for the really low tones and the high nasal, slightly flat shriek of the middle east. Sometimes it doesn't feel like its me that's making this noise. That's when I'm channeling, I am told. As we work ourselves up, we bring in a number of helpers (from other dimensions?, I'll have to remember to ask). Our leader will enthusiastically say things like "Oh, here are the Tibetans, there are the American Indians" One of us is especially good at animals, monkeys, birds - she also does speaking in tongues. Generally we work ourselves up into quite a frenzy, loud and tonal, sometimes nasal and shrieky. I cough and gag. Our percussion specialist grabs a drum or a rattle to accompany the cacophany. The person who is doing the work generally has an experience of catharsis (she's doing all the same things we are, but she's lying down and we have our hands all over her chakras, sometimes digging in fairly vigorously to one or another, tapping, rapping on her back, stroking, helping to move energy in her body. Our leader gives us little instructions to slow down or to touch the crown chakra with vigor. etc, so the feeling of "what the fuck am I doing here" doesn't get out of hand. In fact, sometimes I feel like "hey, I'm pretty good at this, whatever it is".

On occasion, at the end, the angels come, and the sweetness and harmony of our toning is touchingly beautiful. The angels bring deep stillness, which we are encouraged to savor by our leader.

And then we go out to lunch.

Posted by Dakota at November 15, 2003 06:19 AM