Moon Lesson • Digging for the 'Real' Dirt
March brings with it the last full Moon of winter. Several northern American tribes knew this moon as the Full Crow Moon, when the cawing of crows signaled the end of winter; or the Full Crust Moon, because the snow cover becomes crusted from thawing by day and freezing at night. However, this moon is most frequently referred to as the Worm Moon because as the temperature begins to warm and the ground begins to thaw, earthworm casts appear, heralding the return of the robins.
This full Worm moon opens the door for longer days and warmer nights and it’s the last moon in the element of Air. This change in season is the perfect time to consider points of renewal and transformation along with the deeper magicks of your Healer archetype.
Heal thyself. “Women have always been healers. They were unlicensed doctors and anatomists of western history. They were nurses and counsellors. They were pharmacists, cultivating healing herbs and exchanging secrets of their uses. They were midwives, traveling from home to home and village to village. For centuries, women were doctors without degrees, barred from books and lectures, learning from each other, and passing on experience from neighbor to neighbor and mother to daughter. They were called “Wise Women” by the people, witches or charlatans by authorities. Medicine is a part of our heritage as women, our history, our birthright.” - excerpt from ‘Witches, Midwives and Nurses. A History of Women Healers’ by Barbra Ehrenreich and Deidre English.
There is an ancient knowing and understanding that calls women to this work; we feel it in our veins, for we carry within us the ancient memories handed down from our ancestors. As women healers, we need to do as much self healing as we’re able before we turn to heal others AND we need to recognize that our own self healing is a continual journey.
The following deep dive exercise has been modified from an article by Susanne Barlow. Some of the wording might sting if you see yourself in these descriptions. And that is exactly the place to start reconstructing your relationship with your inner Healer. Our archetypes are not stagnant. They change and evolve with every lesson we learn ;-)
“The Healer archetype is an old and intriguing archetype. Every culture, from earliest tribes of ancient man to modern times, has the archetype of the Healer in their culture. It is a part of the human experience to be hurt, wounded or injured in some way, whether it be physical, emotional or spiritual. And because of this, there has always been someone that shows an aptitude for how to help. The development of this archetype has had some interesting twists and turns in its very long life. The healer archetype has been around for so long that it has developed some sub-archetypes that can help you in better understand how your inner Healer is working today. I’ll detail a few of the sub-archetypes below, but if you still don’t recognize yourself in any of these offerings, certainly open sacred Google and allow your Guides to support your research toward a deeper understanding of your Healer today.
Medicine, Magic and the Priestess work
There has always been a bit of mystery around the art of healing. Having little understanding of the body made healing seem to many a kind of magic. Even with our modern understanding, there are still inexplicable mysteries around the healing. Shamans are the oldest known healers. In Native American culture the shamans believed they could travel out of body and communicate with the world of spirits and nature in the form of animals to help them find the answers and wisdom for healing. Witches and herbalists were healers, especially in the pagan religions where the worship of nature was an easy fit for healing and healers. The image of the witch in the forest stirring her brew of herbs and potions has cast the healer in a negative light for many centuries. Midwifery was another type of healing, by helping to bring new life to the earth. The midwife is a good example of the Enlightened Healer, because the midwife is only a support to the mother, who ultimately does the work of delivering her child. The midwife cannot do it for her, any more than healers can do your healing for you. It was common for monks, priests, and priestesses to perform as healers — healing the sinner of their wickedness or in many cases healing their physical ailments. They, too, utilized their knowledge of plants and herbs to practice and provide healing arts within the sanctuary. History aside, let’s delve into some of the sub-archetypes. As you read these variations, please remember you don’t need to have actually worked in these roles as a profession to have this archetype within your makeup.
The Wounded Healer comes from the Greek myth of Chiron. Chiron was a centaur, but he wasn’t just any centaur - he was a wise, gentle and kind centaur, and very different from the others like him. He was unintentionally wounded by Heracles with an arrow that had the arrow tipped with Hydra venom. Chiron was a demigod and therefore had immortality. But this proved to be a problem because he had an incurable wound that he would suffer from, for all eternity. This wound caused Chiron to help others that had been wounded. He is known in mythology as a master healer, teacher and wise one. But Chiron also suffered from another kind of wound. He was rejected by his mother for being half horse and was raised by Apollo, the God of Healing and Light who taught him. After a lifetime of healing others Chiron eventually trades his immortality for death, freeing him and in a way healing himself. The Wounded Healer is defined by the forces that cause you to take the path of healer. A deep wound, especially if it is incurable or a psychological wound so profound that it literally transforms your life are part of this variant of the Healer archetype. But the wound is not just any injury or a disease, it must have a transformational quality to make the Healer a Wounded Healer. This kind of wound has been compared to a near-death experience where there is a sense of complete alteration of the person. This alteration sets them on the path of healing. In fact, there are quite a few persons who have had near-death experiences that find themselves in the role of healer.
The Intuitive Healer does not share the Wounded Healers experience of being wounded but finds that they are a kind of vessel for helping or healing others. They know things about the health and needs of the person without being fully aware how they know what they know. They have a sixth sense about what is going on in a person’s being and a connection to the intuitive world of healing or knowing what that person needs. This intuition is no different than the intuition we all have other than it seems to be focused on healing and is more specific. This archetype channels healing energy and seems to have a natural gift for doing so. If you relate to this variant you may find yourself drawn to essential oils, crystals, or massage, quantum touch, reiki, and other forms of energy healing as a way to express your call to heal yourself and to help others find healing by using your intuition and working with the energetic field such as chakras.
The Caregiver is another variant of the Healer but instead of actually healing the wounds or pain of the suffering person the Caregiver finds satisfaction in the act of caring for the person. They are typically the one everyone turns to for help and they have a tendency to mother those whom they feel are in need. They are collectors of people and their kindness is truly an antidote to pain and loneliness. They attract every sort of person but most notably the homeless, the lost, the angry and the hurt or those on the fringes of society. They usually have a large base of friends for whom they care. The have a special gift for seeing the souls of people, for honoring who the person really is and not judging them by appearance etc. They have a healing touch and are usually quite physical in their affection. (Huggy types, I call them.) Caregivers are warm and affectionate and spend much of their lives in the service of others.
The Nurse is quite similar to the Caregiver and they share many qualities. (Just a reminder: You don’t have to be a real nurse to have this archetype and many real nurses do not have this archetype. But most nurses have some archetype that drew them to the field of nursing if not the healer.) The Nurse finds great joy in taking care of the sick and the injured. They can be detached enough to do what is necessary without losing their special empathic abilities. The Nurse is compassionate, caring and patient. They are very drawn to others that may be impaired, including the severely handicapped. They enjoy tucking a blanket around the legs of someone confined to a wheelchair, or brushing the hair of a woman that can no longer perform that action. They are drawn to offering comfort even more so than outright healing because they believe that comfort and care are deeply healing to the soul.
The Therapist is another example of the many variants of the Healer archetype. The Therapist is a bit different because they are much more focused on healing the heart and mind than healing the body. They are drawn to the troubled person and they have a unique ability to draw out the poison of the mind the same way a Healer may draw out a poison from the body or energy field. The Therapist enjoys a mental intuition that often makes them very good at school and academics. They have access to the unseen world of psychology. They reflect the origins of the word psyche which means, (not the mind as one might suspect) but the soul. The Therapist knows that the mind is but a reflection of the soul and the Therapist is a healer of souls. They often feel a real calling to help others in this way. They are the inner healers and usually have a strong urge to ease emotional and mental suffering while physical suffering is less considered. Similar to the Wounded Healer, the Therapist often experiences an initiation into healing through a psychic wounding, a “dark night of the soul,” and this need to understand this wound and its effects is partially what drives them to help others. The Therapist may have an interest in the mentally ill, the eccentric or strange as well as concepts such as dream analysis, soul retrieval and shamanism.
The Shadow Healer
The Healer archetype encompasses all the variants to some degree and the shadow applies in varying degrees to all of them as well. For clarification, I will use the term ‘patient’ to describe the person that seeks healing from the healer, advice from counselor, or even just comfort from a friend because in spite of the labels the dynamics are the same. The Shadow aspects of our Healer might present as following:
Not Caring for the Self
The Shadow Healer becomes so focused on how much everyone needs them that they truly fail to care for themselves. The demand is real too. People are drawn to healers in multitudes. This creates a real drain on the Healer because they want to help everyone so much that they over-extend themselves. The Shadow Healer is unwilling to look at their motives for not caring for themselves and they simply give until they are burned out, assuming that this validates their generosity and goodness. They pride themselves on being there for others without recognizing the irony that they will be unable to continue to be there for others if they cannot meet their own needs and care for themselves.
The Shadow Healer can recognize they have a unique gift that must be shared, but only expresses this as if it has been a burden in their life or talks only about the challenges and demands of their gift. They avoid how richly rewarding the gift of healing can be and they rarely work toward healing themselves. The Shadow Healer will sometimes claim a special sensitivity to negative energies to such extremes that they create an almost fragile persona.
The Shadow Healer can sometimes become a charlatan in their attempt to maintain control of the patient, offering advice and treatment based on their needs and ego. They begin to believe in their own snake oil treatments and depend on the patient for validation and reinforcement. It is at this moment that the Shadow Healer loses any real connection to the inner physician and they drop down into pretender role, unable to tell the difference between the authentic healing energy and their own conjured ideas. Promoting oneself as someone who can heal others rather than promoting self- healing is a common theme among Shadow Healers. To avoid the pitfall of the charlatan the Healer needs only look to their own heart and bring the truth back to the situation.
Getting High on Approval
The Shadow Healer can be desperate for approval. They spend a lot of time talking about how they helped this person or that person generally focusing the success on their gifts and skills than on the patient. This need for approval causes the Shadow Healer to force outcomes or feel upset when the person they are working with does not show improvement. The need for approval keeps the Shadow Healer worried and stressed about how to ensure the proper outcome. This need for validation comes from a lack of self-worth so profound that the only proof of worth is tied up in the results in the patient.
The Shadow Healer often has a real problem with boundaries. Either they don’t create good boundaries for themselves, such as seeking approval or giving too much of their time and energy when they should say no, or they are crossing the patient’s boundaries, trying to heal/help/love/support someone that has not asked for this and possibly feels resentful that it is being imposed. They feel so certain of their ability to help others that they end up being pushy, driving people away from them. With this complete lack of boundaries the Shadow Healer can feel unappreciated, taken advantage of, and just plain abused.
The true purpose for the Enlightened Healer is self-healing. When this has been accomplished the Enlightened Healer learns one of the great mysteries of healing: That belief is the most powerful aspect of healing or the lack of healing. This understanding of the power of healing is at the center of the Enlightened Healer’s philosophy. They learn how to address the patients expectations so that the patient is more open and able to allow the natural healing powers within to be activated. Even if you are not a practitioner but feel you have the Healer archetype, healing yourself will teach you what others need to heal themselves. The healer anticipates the needs of the person needing healing and can provide the environment that will facilitate healing the best. In hospitals, there is an obvious environment that supports science and technology as the healing powers. In alternative medicine, incense, candles and pictures of beautiful places can serve the same purpose - to create the environment that the patient believes is a part of his healing experience. Healing the body is not a straight shot. There is a disconnect between our willpower and our bodily functions. For most people it is difficult to control their body’s functions such as heart rate, breathing, or even how long they can “hold it in” in any way but the most limited. To think of having control over liver functions, blood cell production and brain waves is beyond comprehension. It is no surprise then that healing our bodies is not easily accomplished. But when we project our own powers onto someone else, a doctor for example, or a shaman, a little white pill or a special diet, we have an indirect route to healing that allows our willpower some access to the body. You learn about the mystery of belief when you heal yourself. You understand deeply and respectfully the journey to healing because you have been on that same journey. Heal thyself is the mantra of the Enlightened Healer.
Healers do not heal others, they heal themselves. By so doing, they offer the opportunity for others to heal themselves and can provide support, guidance and hope along the journey. This requires humility, especially when others are putting the Healer on a pedestal and praising them or giving them credit for healing them. The act of offering help to a person on the path of healing is an act of self-healing on its own. Hippocrates, who is credited with revolutionizing medicine in the 5th century B.C. taught physicians of his day to revere the healing powers of Nature. Man does not heal, nature does. The Enlightened Healer is honored and humbled to be a part of another person’s journey and is deeply appreciative of the wisdom and guidance it can offer to the Enlightened Healer’s own journey.
Being invisible is an important part of the Enlightened Healer. Acting invisibly is not difficult for the Enlightened Healer because they understand that they are not the healer but a witness and support for someone else healing themselves. There are several methods for being invisible, including reminding the patient that they have healed themselves, keeping the focus on the patient and respecting the privacy of the patient by keeping the experience confidential. Maintaining invisibility is also a good way to stay focused on yourself and not on the patient and to recognize that you too are patient and healer. This invisibility allows you the necessary introspection for your own healing journey.
Boundaries are a form of self care. When others come to seek out advice, comfort or some other kind of healing support from you it is vital that boundaries are established. The Enlightened Healer has excellent boundaries and they take excellent care of themselves. They do not say yes to anything unless they are absolutely certain that they feel good about the request and it does not violate their values. The Enlightened Healer says no if they cannot bring their whole being and full presence to the person asking for help. They have learned to respect themselves and out of this respect grows a profound respect for others’ time, energy and their own healing journey. The Enlightened Healer takes excellent care of his or her body, mind, emotions and soul. Out of this self-care comes the capacity to be there for others more fully. The Enlightened Healer does not let themselves become burned out and does not see burnout as a good thing but as a severe lack of boundaries and self-care.
The Enlightened Healer has learned how to surrender. Letting go is an important lesson for the Healer and it is vital to understanding the healing journey. Surrender is necessary for any kind of healing or transformation. Something must die if something new is going to live. When we heal, we are letting go of old beliefs, letting go of our bodies and surrendering ourselves to the power of Nature to heal us in its own fashion. When we heal we let go of the need to understand the mystery of healing and to control the process. The Enlightened Healer looks forward to the opportunity to let go and surrender on the path to wholeness and healing. At its best the Enlightened Healer is first and foremost a self-healer who is humble, pliable, compassionate and caring, one with deep wisdom and knowledge about the healing of the body and soul.”
Take some time now and reflect on the bits and pieces of these descriptions that really stood out for you. Write about these truths in your journal. Remember, this is a personal journey, for yourself only, and does not need to be shared with anyone other then your deepest self. What you put into our priestess work now, you will get back out later.
Before you begin the work of journeying to gather this piece of your soul and reconnect to your Healer, let’s look at the anchors for this month:
Hazel tree and Labradorite
Hazel, in Celtic tradition, is the tree of Knowledge, and lore tells the story of the nine nuts coming from nine hazel trees, each nut full of potent poetic wisdom. These nuts dropped into a well that was below the trees, and within that well lived a salmon, who ate these nuts. Each nut eaten by the salmon becomes a spot on its skin, and gave the salmon all the wisdom and poetry of the world. Anyone who either ate one of the sacred nuts or ate the salmon was said to also be given the gift of this sacred sight and wisdom.
Some magical uses of the hazel tree are as wands and divining rods used to find water. It is said that the best time to cut a hazel wand is in the spring when the sap is rising, as this is when it is at its most powerful. Hazel can be used at all times for protection. Placing a sprig of Hazel over your doorstep is said to hold much protective powers.
Before beginning your journey work this month, you might enjoy looking for a hazel tree and asking its permission take a small branch to journey with. Conversely, if you can’t find a hazel tree, hazelnuts are readily available at grocery stores, and are wonderful to have around for eating and as offerings. Place a bowl of hazelnuts on your alter while you work with the tree this month. Let their presence inform your journey by enhancing your knowledge of yourself, your sacred spaces, and furthering your sense of grounding and protection.
Labradorite is the most powerful protector of the mineral kingdom, creating a shielding force throughout the aura and strengthening natural energies from within. It protects against the negativity and misfortunes of this world, and provides safe exploration into alternate levels of consciousness and in facilitating visionary experiences from the past or the future.
Lore of the Inuit peoples claim Labradorite fell from the frozen fire of the Aurora Borealis, an ordinary stone that transforms to the extraordinary, shimmering in a mystical light that separates the waking world from unseen realms. It is, in every sense, a Stone of Magic, a crystal of shamans, diviners, healers, and all who travel and embrace the universe seeking knowledge and guidance. For self-discovery, it is excellent for awakening one's own awareness of inner spirit, intuition and psychic abilities.
Wearing or carrying Labradorite allows one's innate magical powers to surface. It enhances the mental and intuitive abilities of clairvoyance, telepathy, prophecy and coincidence control, and assists in communication with higher guides and spirits. It provides an ease in moving between the worlds, and permits a safe and grounded return to the present. Labradorite helps develop the hands' sensitivity, making it useful for all who use the power of touch to heal.
Labradorite also tempers the negative side of our personality, the traits and actions that rob our energy and may produce depression or shame.
Connect with Branch & Stone
Gather your labradorite or a hazel nut or two, if you have access. Place your anchor in your right hand (or just inside your bra cup near your heart if you’re doing your own drumming), get comfortable and close your eyes.
Begin this journey in your sacred spot. Look for the entry to the lower realm. Journey through the entry into the lower realm and call to your Guide. Ask your Guide to lead you to the sacred grove where you might connect with the Hazel tree.
Sit with your back leaning against the tree of knowledge and begin to imagine your backbone with all of the nerves that run from the center of it out, connecting with the tree like branches; align your spinal column and nervous system with the heartbeat of the great hazel tree, and bring your awareness to its living, breathing, center.
TO DO: Ask the hazel tree to show you an area of your life where you contain great inner wisdom. Then journey to ask the hazel tree where in your life and spiritual work you are being called to cultivate or develop more wisdom.
It is important to note when we journey shamanically with too many questions at once, the answers can become “muddy”. It is always best to come out of the journey and then go back in if you have more then one question. Of course, there are always exceptions to the rule, such as when you get an answer to a question that you do not understand. In this case, go ahead and ask for clarification right away.
Go back to your Journal entry about your Healer and any aspects of Shadow that may have revealed themselves. Table any feelings of shame or guilt. Accept this is where you are on your journey of self-healing and act.
How many ways can you conjure to renegotiate how you work with your gifts when it comes to your self-healing? How about when your boundaries are pressed and you’re sharing your gifts with others? Please feel free to share any tidbits you are comfortable sharing on our private FB page.
Journey for your Sacred Object
Your sacred object this month will represent you as your enlightened healer.
Journey with your Guide to sit under the Hazel tree again and ask that you be shown the sacred object that represents your Healer. Once this object is revealed to you. It’s time to retrieve it in the real world. This might take days, weeks, or even months to finally secure your sacred object. If you have not found your object but know what it is, select a ‘placeholder’ to work with until your true power object is secured.
TO DO: Once you have your object in hand, ask your object ‘what ceremony can I do to consecrate you before you go into the bundle?’ Maybe a soak in water under moon light, maybe spritzing with moon water, or simply blow three clearing breathes over the object to clear it and bind it to you.
TO DO: Then take another journey with your object to request: “What practice should I commit to to refill the cup of my Healer?” Whether it’s to brew a particular blend of tea each day or rub a particular oil on your wrists or commit to a self reiki treatment each day, start doing it now.
Continue to journey with your object as much as you feel called to this month. Remember that you have the whole month to make a sacred bond with your object before it goes into your medicine bundle, so take that time and sit with it as much as possible.