When I think of empowerment, I think of building a sense of importance. It’s deeper than confidence and self-esteem. To empower others is to make them feel like they matter. Culturally in the US we are shifting to ensure empowerment of more people. This post is loosely based on a research project I’ve done that outlines potential steps towards a healing vision I see for the world. Healing visions, or visions in general help us to create and develop our own lives and ripple it to larger, collective reality.
During my time in the Sacred Valley of Peru, my guide talked about the Incan timeline. There is a cycle period of 1,000 years, 500 years of darkness and 500 years of light. The darkness is regarded as a time of dominant, mind and masculine energy. The onset of it seemed to predict the arrival of the Spanish in Peru, diseases, and civil war. A new shift has apparently begun called “The New Pachakuti” which is energy of “heart and light.” This shift restores the balance of masculine and feminine energies.
The Incans said the indication of the shift would be “golden fish in Lake Titicaca.” The locals there have reported within the last 10-15 years, “golden trout has flourished in the Lake.” The cycle is a gradual transition, and the timeline is meant for guidance symbolically and energetically. The latest prediction is that by 2022 more people will be aware of the increasingly potent energy shift (right around the corner!). The way to balance is challenging. Much of the obstacles, discomfort, and resistance happening is part of the change.
Supposedly, a reason people are drawn to ayahuasca is because its healing properties in part balance masculine and feminine energies in the individual who takes it. The two plants that combine for the brew represent these opposing energies synthesizing. When we begin to synthesize energy in us we are better able to create this on a larger societal scale.
Energy balance is very important as I’ve discussed here. More feminine energy means society becomes more compassionate and intuitive. The energetic balance also represents balance among people with greater equity. Patriarchal societies suppress feminine energy. This dominance, like anything else we have too much of, has become unhealthy.
My healing vision for the world is for greater energetic balance. Although these energies have little to do with constructed gender, empowering women is a way to surface more feminine energy. Technically, empowering the whole spectrum of identity creates better balance.
My former project focused on spiritual practices that empower those who identify as women, so the following may read with that slant. However, I don’t think the energy shift is limited to focus on women. It can absolutely be all-inclusive as long as particular qualities, like intuition, compassion, and emotional connection are given value. Take this as a model for empowering anyone.
Spiritual practices are opportunities for people to realize their potential to liberate, connect, heal, and express. I tend to use the word ‘spiritual’ openly. To me, spiritual is tapping into that which connects us deeply within ourselves and the greater universe.
A foundational component to empowerment is safety. When everyone feels safe to express themselves, we feel as though we matter. Safety is a basic need, so once it is met, we can feel well enough to focus on flourishing from there.
Community is huge. It offers both connection to something larger than self and empowerment from the collective for the individual self. We are able to expand our sense of self through others since other people bring out different characteristics in us.
Finding community might be identifying with particular groups. Groups of course can vary based on race, ethnicity, politics, houses of worship, sexual orientation, sports teams, interests, groups that don’t care to identify with groups, etc. Some popular culture groups are based on generation or zodiac signs. I know I tend to gravitate towards blogs aimed for Millennials because I relate to the experience. Established roles and groups have become limiting and evolved to seemingly divide the larger scale community into smaller groups. I’m not necessarily advocating for choosing a group in order to have a community, but it’s one way people feel safer. Like-minded people or people who have similar experiences is comfortable.
In college, through mutual friends I attended “women’s circle.” Each full moon women in the area come together at a host’s house. Everyone brings food to share and talks about what we’re working through and towards. Usually a meditation and a opening of the space helps establish it. In some circles the host will pass around a deck of oracle cards to choose for extra guidance. There’s a definitive line between this and a group therapy session that is hard to explain.
It was so nice to have this community especially as a freshman and sophomore in college because a majority of the group were juniors, seniors, or post-graduates. I liked having mentors and role models. Women’s circles are sporadically everywhere, but if one isn’t near you, you can “officially” start one. They are a great way to meet new people since the group was different month to month.
Alena Smith, the creator of one of my favorite shows, “Dickinson” discusses how spiritualism historically has granted validation to otherwise suppressed women voices. A seance would be a way to voice vulnerabilities and speak truth when asking spirits for guidance in a therapeutic space. Here, women could say things deemed unacceptable or radical in society with authority, Smith says. Astrology, for example provides solid ground in uncertain times. We are drawn to predictability, and the trends of it for emerging adults (coming soon!) meet needs for guidance.
There are plenty of activities that foster empowerment. Really anything that brings you peace, joy, and connection counts as a spiritual practice. Movement like yoga and dancing is embodiment. Embodiment is grounding and sustains a healing relationship with your body. Chakra opening, ceremony, and reading are a few of my go-to’s.
Leisure in general is a form of self-care that recharges you. Anything that stabilizes cortisol, or your physiological stress responses is optimal. I had posted a photo of my dad in his garden as an example of meeting needs. Gardening is a beautiful form of meditation that combines the powerful healing of fresh air and nature.
Expression. Creativity and embodiment fit well into this category. You can balance the constant of ritual with activities that encourage spontaneity. From research on practices for women, tantric and sexuality workshops empower through community and channeling innate, otherwise usually dormant primal energy. With the right group leader, this work is meant to heal wounds possibly imposed by societal constructs. This safe place strives to counter-act living with threats of sexual violence (feeling perpetually unsafe). Much of this healing focuses on sacral chakra work and may use symbols like a “yoni” egg. Also, the “Wild Woman” archetype harnesses the passion and liberation energy that is empowering. Wild Woman represents bursting socially constructs. To see yourself in the “Wild Woman” or to feel her in you, is to discover different facets of who you are and who you will become.
These groups work on reclaiming power through emotional connection. All of this releasing makes for lighter and fluid functioning. Expression of sexuality, repressed energy, and the self in a space that welcomes and nurtures it builds the ability to successfully communicate and be open without as much vulnerability.
What happens during these spiritual practices is a detachment from ego. Emotional connection and self-discovery through community, leisure, embodiment, and expression cultivate feminine energy. If more of us, no matter who you are nor your gender identity, embrace this energy, we work towards a balanced society.
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