Descending into the Kiva… What can happen on a Soul Journey into the Dark


The Journey With Your Wild Soul Retreat was originally designed as an exploration of ways to engage with your Soul’s voice – using non-linear practices that steer you away from your usual mind chatter and support you connecting with a deeper place inside yourself. We live in a culture that is on hyper speed and I believe that if we don’t slow down and take the time to connect with the depths inside us, we will lose what makes us unique, sacred beings. We’ll also miss out on our True Life. Listening to my own inner voice, I knew that I was seeking a place to hold this retreat that would offer a special environment for making this connection. Enter Kelly Place. This special inn, located in McElmo Canyon holds many special treats…. Bordering the Canyon of the Ancients and gazing towards Sleeping Ute Mountain, in this temperate valley there are over 100 acres of hiking trails to explore the 25 on-site Anasazi ruins. While this 1000-year-old Native American culture has disappeared, their architecture remains and we can engage our imaginations in discovering the past. We can also engage in bringing to light our own hidden depths in the present.

I gather one weekend each year with a group of women in these special surroundings. We laugh, cry and share the meaningful stories of our lives. We dance from our hearts to inspirational music and created Soul Collage cards, letting our Soul’s speak to us through visual imagery. But for me, the most powerful experience is always our Journey into the traditional Kiva (underground ceremonial chamber in the earth) to hear the Voice of our own Beloved. Climbing down the wooden ladder, into the dark center of the earth can be a daunting experience. We are usually taught to deny or ignore the hidden corners of our life, yet we actually grow smaller living from this fear-driven place. It is this descent, this Journey into the Underworld, that offers us a chance to meet the dark mystery of our life and use it to find the wholeness we seek. As written in this poem of the goddess Inanna’s journey to the underworld by Starhawk, there are sacrifices to be made… vulnerability to expose:

The Descent of Inanna,
The Second Gate
 The Second Gate is Fear
When you go down far enough
            It arises
            Wearing a helmet, armor
            Wearing an enemy face
            Carrying weapons
            It blocks the gate
 Fear says
            Go back
And you hear what it threatens you with
            If you go on
 Fear says
            Turn around
And you hear what it offers you
            If you obey
 Fear says
            Something you alone can hear
            And you know what it is.
 To go on
            You must take off your clothes
Lay down the cloak that keeps out the
            And the shield that turns the spear
            And the armor that turns the arrow’s
Take of your breastplate and helmet
Fear doesn’t go away
            But you walk toward fear
And the gate opens
 Past the Second Gate you dance
            Fearless in the open
            Your skin one living organ
            That embraces air

Our bodies sit in the dark kiva, while to the sound of the shamanic drums, our Soul’s take individual journeys accompanied by animal allies visualized earlier that day. My role is a sacred charge, to be still and hold the intention of each woman – to find more self-trust, to be healed, to learn their legacy – as you each experience what is getting in the way. You open yourself up risking all the things your ego threatens you with losing. And in that magical cave of Mother Earth, you find your resilience and expanded power. We gather that evening and ritually share  each of our Journeys, deepening the meaning… singing over our bones. The stories and poems that I hear bring me an overflowing sense of joy. I am surrounded by living Goddesses, as they make themselves the heroines of their Lives. Each one committed to an act that will bring alive her Soul’s longings in her life. She committs to stay in the conversation with her Beloved. And I know that the Journey isn’t over – there will be more insights as you continue to reflect on our weekend and all the Soulful practices we take part in together.

Are you living your life as the Goddess/God that you are? Are you in conversation with your Beloved? The next Journey With Your Wild Soul Retreat is scheduled for Nov. 13-15, 2009. If it sounds like something you’re interested in, please call me at (970) 259-9040 or email

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