Hi I’m Rebecca, and my [secret] mission in life is to reconnect us with the hidden world.
If you want my [slightly more] professional bio, you can read that HERE (there’s even a short version for those of you who just want the bullet-points).
At The Wonder Sessions, however, I want to talk about the stuff that I never talk about elsewhere. But in order to do that, I need to address the elephant in the corner: we need to talk about the esoteric, and Woo Shame. (I just coined that term; you can use it)
What is ‘woo shame’?
Woo shame is the embarrassment we feel to talk about our work with the esoteric, especially if that work doesn't have a specific label.
Language shapes consciousness; words birth concepts into existence. And when we can name something then we have a societal assumption that it is valid.
But what about the hidden things that we can’t see?
Energy? The magical? The psychic?
The English language is so deeply connected with our ‘I think therefore I am' mindset that we have no common language for the worlds that lie outside our societal consciousness. Nor do we have words for the type of practices that develop our extra-sensory skills. And no words, other than the non-specific ‘energy' for what moves beneath the surface. In places where there is a cultural languages for the un-seen, these concepts are woven into the fabric of every day life:
In China, the concept of ‘qi' underlies everything: the free-flow of qi creates health, and imbalances in the body, in society, in public spaces, and interactions between people can all be attributed to blockages of qi.
In India, the concept of ‘prana' or, life-force, is that which breathes reality into existence. Not only is prana the life-force running through everything, but the gods in the Hindu pantheon are very real, living beings, who are integrated into the culture of the entire country.
Because of the lack of language around these things, those of us who work with the energetic in the West are working uphill against the perceptions of our society to prove our legitimacy.
And then... there’s this: People are scared of the wild.
Our society tries to control the wilderness. We have rules and governing bodies that keep us safer, to prevent danger or chaos. And we are 'safe' in our controlled environments... Until we’re not.
hurricane. drought. fire. flood.
We’re subject to the laws of nature as much in our safe suburbs as we are in the wild, we just pretend that we aren't. And our lives are not any more fulfilling, more magical, or more beautiful because of this pretension.
( I actually think they're less magical. )
And it’s the same with the hidden world. It's always there; we just ignore it. There are, however, those of us who don’t: the witches, medicine makers, mediums, psychics, shamans, energy workers, clairvoyants... and also writers who channel creative genius; detectives who follow their instincts; doctors who test on gut feeling. The energetic world is not seen as valid, to most people in society, and this is a problem.
Because the unseen world IS real. It’s tangible. It is mysterious, magical, wild, and fulfilling. These un-seen connections are underneath the surface of everything, and when we are in touch with this world, we don’t feel alone. I'd venture a guess that a lot of us know, in the recesses of our memories, how that world feels, and have secretly, actually, been longing for it.
At The Wonder Sessions, we are talking about this ‘woo' stuff, because underneath it all, we’re working with connecting to the unseen, and making it real.
We entrust certain people to be the gatekeepers to this world. These gatekeepers are seen as somehow special, and we often take what they say at face value because we believe they have access to something we don’t.
But how can we tell if what we’re being told is true or is a bunch of nonsense? What’s the difference between me saying ‘there are living breathing forces in this world’ and ‘the bubble people from Athgaron think you should wear more purple’. We can learn how to feel truth in our own bones, and how to perceive them on our own. Because it isn't an exclusive club: everyone is invited; most of us just throw out the invitation.
Hello again, I'm Rebecca.
Some of us are born to cook, some good with numbers, some natural athletes. I was born with a tendency towards creativity and the unseen world.
Over the course of my childhood I blocked that world out, and, for years afterwards, I felt like something was missing. That feeling of emptiness came to a head when my sister died and I sunk into a deep depression, followed by a psychiatric mis-diagnosis, where I ended up on a pharmaceutical rollercoaster the likes of which I’d rather never repeat. I clawed my way out: I started an Ashtanga yoga practice. I started learning about plant medicine, and developing a relationship with the land where I lived. And I started researching various mystic traditions. Then, one night, in my twenties, I stumbled upon the website for the Maker tradition.
It was a contemporary shamanism school, run by a man named Gary, where he taught a tradition that he'd learned from his grandfather. Gary had traced the Maker tradition back in his family lineage for generations, finding it started in Europe over 500 years ago. His approach to the unseen world was very down to earth: he talked about seeing energy as it is, and moving it. He also talked a lot about self-healing, and how our perception is influenced by our past. It felt so honest and efficient and simple, and it spoke to something inside me-- the longing that I'd felt for so long and couldn't name. I read about the world that Gary described and I wanted it with everything I had. I took a class. And then another. And then another. Over time I noticed that I was changing: things that I hadn't been able to perceive before were there; things that used to terrify me no longer did. But more importantly, I learned that I wasn't broken in the slightest.
I trained hard, for over 8 years, in the Maker tradition, but also in yoga, in plant medicine, and a form of somatic therapy called The Pantarei Approach. And I learned skills (see here for a detailed list of teachers and influences).
Now, I can see energy: in looking at a person, I can see their personal history; the events that have shaped them; past lives; even genetic history. I can see where a person is holding tension in their body, and feel what emotions and past events might be tied up with that tension. It doesn’t all come in a flash like a movie; I have to concentrate and it takes a long time… mostly because I don't train this skill hard enough. I personally spend most of my time training with plants, and elemental energies. As a result of this, I feel the spirits of plants and places as I would people. My relationship with these spirits is interactive and ongoing. But its more than what I ‘got’ from this, to me, it’s about how I feel in the world: I no longer feel separate or cut off. The world around me is alive, breathing, magnificent, and in technicolour, and I never feel alone or empty anymore.
All of this is stuff I worked my butt off for. Tendency doesn’t mean ‘talent’, and I didn’t come to the table with any major level of skill. But what I did have, and still do, is a fierce tenacity and longing to be fully immersed in the world, and a deep, unrelenting longing for the world of my dreams to be a reality.
My whole life, I had a feeling that I was missing something important. I felt it, just out of reach, and longed for it. I found teachers who helped me validate that feeling, and I went from longing for that world, to living it. Now, my mission to help other people uncover these connections inside themselves. I'm not special. This unseen, magic world is there for all of us, touching us constantly, reminding us of who we are and where we come from. It's a blind step into the unknown, and that can be incredibly frightening, but I promise you, because I can hear it whispering, that it's there for any of us who want it.
If you also sense these connections, but doubt, or are ashamed. Come with me on this journey, and let me show you some of what I have learned.