By Lian Brook-Tyler
As part of my year-and-a-day long commitment to the Fire, I decided to have weekly saunas, which will be interspersed with sweat lodges with my shamanic family.
This morning as I was having a sauna (actually a hot/cold/hot immersion of having a sauna, jumping in the swimming pool, running back to the sauna and then lying naked in the sunshine to dry off afterwards,) I suddenly recalled writing the post below about the sauna (which actually turned out to be two posts that my memory combined into one.)
It felt like I wrote them a lifetime ago but turned out to be at the start of ‘21. Thanks to intense shamanic initiations, my relationship to “doing nothing”, to the Fire, to my soul and to Spirit has undergone even more profound changes in that time.
The sauna is not as intense or powerful as the sweat lodge but with strong intention and reverence, I’m learning it can bring in some of the same Spirit and therefore cleansing, insight, healing and liberation.
For example in this morning’s sauna, I recalled a tiny but incredibly important droplet from a dream from last night – it was my teacher asking me to heed something that has deep significance to my path, I suspect it would have been lost altogether if it hadn’t been for the ancient portal to the Sacred created by heat, darkness, steam and intention.
Here’s the original posts showing my journey to this point, which as the title of the first post suggests is less about my relationship to the sauna, and more about my relationship to… well… everything.
How my relationship to saunas is really my relationship to something much greater…
Anyone who has known me of old will tell you that I’ve always been utterly unable to sit and do nothing.
My dear cousin Tania can tell you a story about the time decades ago when she took me along to a spiritual healing session that she’d been going to… and her being mortified when I asked if I could read a book whilst I was receiving said healing.
So when Chris decided to create a sauna here six years ago, the image I had was of me happily lying back reading a book, natch.
Which I did for at least two of those years… resulting in treasured books falling apart at the seams in the steam.
When I decided I couldn’t sacrifice any more books, the idea of lying there for 20-30 minutes doing nothing was obviously not an option, so I turned to magazines… cue another year of the printed word falling apart in my hands (usually Chris’s brand new issue of GQ, which he was none too pleased about.)
And then three years ago, when I took my first shaky intentional steps onto the path of Magic, I realised I could recreate the sauna as a portal to an altered state of consciousness and a journeying within.
The biggest challenge with that was for me to be willing to sit and “do nothing”, and yes, the first few times were *excruciating* but despite that, I could feel the deep sense of alignment that had me continue.
And now, three years on, it’s become an effortless and beautiful practice which graces me with gifts of revelation and insight every time.
Today, in the sauna, I realised more clearly than ever how it was never about the sauna, it was never even about me doing nothing, it was about my fear of connecting to the deepest parts of me, and beyond into the Divine.
What gifts lie beneath the things you most resist?
This is my sauna ceiling…
It is the screen upon which I project visions of dragons, wombs, castles, empresses, pomegranate seeds and lions… all of which powerfully guide my life and work.
I have other screens too because I consciously create my life to make space for them.
Otherwise we project demons and knights out there on the world – and never see we’ve done so.
Quantum Physicist David Bohm said “Thought creates our world, and then says ‘I didn’t do it’”
And we can take that statement and multiply it by a bazillion when it’s Shadow creating our world.
We think people really *are* demons and knights… oh and… wicked witches, bitches, beauty queens and parasites.
Meanwhile, we’re at their mercy… demonising them, pedestalising them, building them up, tearing them down… all from fear.
If you’re ready to catch Shadow in the act, some of the most powerful ways we can create these screens include… trance, shadow work, meditation, shamanic journeying, communion with the wild, and dance.
And then not only do we see the Shadow we’ve been projecting onto the world… we can also see our Gold.
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