Traversing the Underworld


Amazing art: Initiate, artist unknown. Poem by Lara Vesta 

Remember the last time
you did something
you were told not
to do?
When you broke
the rules?
When you said yes
to another’s no?
When did
you eat
the seeds,
just four
four hearts,
you would
as your

I can’t do this. This is too hard…

This was my mantra for a good part of my life. I grew up with this story – it’s been passed down for generations in my family as truth.

For everything there is a Season, a time for everything.  Entering into Autumn, we can more willingly embrace all things that go bump in the night.  In these seasons, I set the intention to dive deep into the Shadow. Releasing any charges or triggers I might have about Light and Dark, I know that the shadow – or the subconscious – is simply the storehouse for all that is not currently in my focal awareness – memories, past experiences and messages, behavior and emotions I don’t want to look at.

As I began my descent into the Underworld, this Old Story came up.

I can’t do this. This is too hard. I’m not strong enough. I’m not good enough.

Fairy Tales and classic Myths come to mind as I recount my Heroine’s Journey, the story of my path to this place. I resonate with Little Red Riding Hood – the innocent young girl beset by the darkness, by the Big Bad Wolf, the end of her innocence. Or the story of Persephone, kidnapped by Hades to reside in the Underworld, waiting for rescue from the Shadow – from knowing and wisdom.

As I tell my story – as I turn it over and over again, examine it from every angle – I find that I can Tell a Different Story. I can recognize that I’ve been Innocent by Choice. I’ve fallen asleep and waited for rescue, trusting the Universe and Divine Plans without agreeing to do my part. My part in co-creating my life was to be more discerning, to set boundaries, to name my feelings and desires, to step into my Truest, Biggest, Most Dynamic Self.

Or, maybe my story is the one where my soul wants desperately to break free – so desperately I intentionally eat the forbidden fruit, I opt for wisdom and knowing. I choose me over pleasing everyone else.  Pleasing my mother, pleasing my friends, playing the part that was assigned to me by others.

These stories run through my head and as they do, I can sometimes feel the clutches of the forest grabbing at my garments to pull me down. That’s the thing with going into the Shadow – I need a tether so I know that I’m safe from all the Monsters, Wolves, and Evil Queens – all those voices that like to bring up my biggest fear – I’m not good enough. I’m not safe.

What is my tether?  Self Love and a Connection with my Body Wisdom.  I know I’m good enough because I know I am Love.  I know I am Love because I practice loving myself each and every day.  I stay connected with my body and feel into my Yeses and my Nos.  My gut tells me I’m in danger and need a boundary.  My neck tells me to let go of something that isn’t mine.  I have a guide – my body.  And I have a Toolkit full of practices like Qigong, Breathing, Tapping, Dancing, and Writing that will support me as I venture into the Underworld.    On purpose.  With intention.  No one has kidnapped me.  And I know the way back to Love.

It’s time for me to get a new mantra…

I am strong. I can do this.

I am safe.

I am Love.

This is My Story.


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