I was sitting back in a lounge chair on the deck of my oceanfront room on North Caicos, making last minute tweaks to the program for the Celestial Sessions before the participants arrived. I was startled by the voice of my teaching assistant, Becky, "Come down to the beach, quickly, before you miss it!" What could be so urgent?
I got up and ran down to the water’s edge and there she was, Pele, the Hawaiian Goddess of fire and passion. Manifested in the clouds and light around the setting sun, holding court in all her glory; she took my breath away.
I was first introduced to Pele in 2009 during a Huna channeling session. Huna is the spiritual tradition of the ancient Hawaiians. During my studies with my teacher and Kahuna Laura Kealoha Yardley, I learned specifically about Lemurian Huna, a spiritual wisdom, some 25 000 years ago. Pele is one of the four goddesses of Lemurian Huna. She is fiery and she is believed to live in the Halema’uma’u crater of the volcano Kilauea on the Big Island. She is fiercely intense, unapologetic. She brings with her the element of transformation, the sacred fire. Her work is both creative and destructive. Her not-so-subtle energy comes around me often, when I need a wake-up call, when things need to change, when the old needs to go, and my being craves a new way of expressing in this world.
Although I know her well, I wasn’t expecting her to come all the way to the Caribbean, thousands of miles away from Hawaii. But there she was, in the evening sky, the fire in her solar plexus shining brightly from her proud chest as if illuminating our path ahead. I was stunned at how clear her outline was in the cloud formation and at how certain we were that it was Pele. We felt her, it was unmistakable. As I stood there with both feet in the sand at the edge of the ocean, shivers went through my entire body and my eyes filled up with tears. I felt the hugeness of this moment, so much information was circulating through my body. My intellect did not yet understand the magnitude of what her visit meant, that would take months to reveal itself to me, and is something I will share in future posts. At that moment all I could do is bow my head in appreciation for her, for the fire, for the opportunity to play with her. I was filled with a sense of reverence and gratitude.
In that moment I knew the Celestial Sessions would be a very different kind of workshop. Although I had prepared a schedule for the week, I had to check my logical mind at the door, let go of this “plan,” and be present to what wanted to come through us, to what belongs to us as a group and individually. I wasn’t going to lead this program, but rather it was going to unfold through every single one of us, and all we needed was to trust the mystery and be open to receiving.
And we did. During our five days together, the evidence of co-creation with the shamanic energies was everywhere. At every corner, the water, the air, and the fire reflected our emotional healing. The wind picked up in a violent gust when we needed to be reminded to breathe much much more deeply. The sky sent soothing rain as raw sadness moved through some of us. And the heat. Oh, the heat! The heat became unbearable and we had to get out of our heads, stop trying to control our experience, and give into an organic and simple way of living.
When surrender and insight were on the cusp, the sky appeared to be on fire, an illustration of Genesis. At the edge of the water, the sharp slivers of conch shell pilled up like a barbed wired reef, as to slow us down, bringing us back to the present moment, and take the time to appreciate this life-giving and refreshing gift that is the Caribbean ocean in July.
A pelican dove for food in the water right in front of our eyes during our early morning meditative swim, alluding to the energetic nourishment and our capacity to take in a lot of new energies. The Huna symbols, used by the ancient Hawaiians in hands-on healing and during sacred ceremonies, appeared on the surface of beach stones, shells, leaves, and as patterns on the ocean floor.
I invited every participant to let the symbols find them during their contemplative walks or evening swims. They brought back objects that were pregnant with meaning, and together we contemplated and decoded the messages.
Before I arrived on North Caicos, I knew I wanted to share about Huna during the Celestial Sessions. But what I was shown that summer is that we don’t teach Huna, Huna teaches us. We are Huna. It is the most ancient, wise part of ourselves that remembers how we used to be, an energy that calls us back to a simple, more natural and powerful way of living and leading.