During my time along the River last week, I (Ryan) re-read parts of Bill Plotkin’s Wild Mind (essential reading in my opinion, along with Nature & the Human Soul!). In it he describes a nature-based map of the human Self/Psyche, informed by & further developing the Four Shields/Directions system used by School Lost Borders. It is a tool to better understand the different aspects of our full selves. (A summary of the system/map coming soon in a post)
In part following ideas in the book about advanced healing for sub-personalities, I conducted a self-ceremony on the land. I wanted to share a little about it, as we all have our versions of Inner Loyal Soldiers, & this is something we can all do for ourselves. It is also something we suggest and/or guide in our deeper Wild Nature Heart programs, like Wilderness Vision Quest.
I created a colored Stone & Pampas Grass Mandala beside the river & did a ritual dialogue with my Loyal Soldiers, Inner Critic & Wounded Child. Different rocks represented different sub-personalities. (I can’t help noticing that ‘pampas’ is close to ‘pompos’ which means Conductor/Guide in Greek. Psychopomp is the Guide to the Soul in the underworld)
It kinda blew my mind (or rather, enlarged my psyche). Long story short, I thanked them for their service, loved them, then re-commissioned and enlisted them for my greater purpose. One thing about these energies in us, is that can’t simply be banished. But we can approach them with the trust and love of our bigger selves and have a new relation to them. Because of their long-time devotion, hyper-vigilance, & vitality (which previously could keep me small), why not point them in the right direction? Now their prodigious powers could assist in becoming bigger, more balanced, more aligned.
I was also surprised to discover that there was a component of Shame that existed as part of a sub-personality. Whenever my friends talk about their experience of Shame, I always denied having that emotion. So it lived in my Shadow—in coming to light I was able to transform, then re-channel the energy. The shame had to do with my sensitivity, or rather the message from others from early on in my childhood over my ‘over-senstivity”. However, I know that sensitivity to my inner system and outer systems (often mirroring each other) is one of my super-powers, without which I could not do the work that I do.
Historically, I have had an overblown West Shield, the Muse/Beloved, & under-developed other shields. Now, after a lot of self work, while West is still easy access for me, I am (I think!) much more balanced in each directions/facets, and live in the space of Big Trust.
It is part of my work to continue deepening and balancing each facet of my psyche, and help others do the same. I invite you to explore Bill Plotkin’s soulwork, and experiment with dialogue with the parts of the psyche that used to serve you as a child, but perhaps make you small or less vibrant now. How can they be re-visited and re-purposed, so that you can live your most fulfilling and authentic life, and give your gifts back to the world?