Nurturing Whole Health
When looking at your life; your health and wellness, it is essential to see that everything is truly everything. Among The Five Aspects of Health, Spirituality is a potent piece of how we stay whole and navigate this complicated existence. The beauty for each of us is that inner experience and connection to the natural world, is unique to all. I have connected with some very holy spirit animals over the years. Frog is my newest friend.
Spring is here. Easter and Passover arrive in nature's season of rebirth. At Passover, the Jewish people retell the story of leaving the bondage of slavery in Egypt. The Hebrew word for Egypt, Mitzrayim, means, "constriction" or "narrow place." Many use the ancient story and rituals of Passover to look inside and find where they are experiencing limitation and stress; using this time to set intention for needed change.
Friday I gathered with five women at The Jackson Wellspring's Mikvah, set in a secluded area, under a magnificent steep, tree-covered hillside. A mikvah is a bath for ritual immersion and must have fresh water running into the pool and water steadily flowing out. The mikvah at Jackson Wellsprings is a magical, holy place for ritual and spiritual cleansing. "For centuries Native Americans honored the warm springs on the banks of Bear Creek as a sacred ceremonial site. Out of respect for the sanctity of the land and water spirits, First Nation elders tell us that warring nations put down their weapons in the vicinity of the hot springs. Moreover, the warm springs were revered by a number of Pacific Northwest tribes as a birthing sanctuary. Indigenous populations traveled hundreds of miles to birth in the springs, a custom that was later adopted by early settlers."
I had been longing to dip into the mikvah since February when I experienced some emotionally powerful and extremely stressful internal processing. Friday was cool and beautiful, following a violent rain and wind storm the previous night. The clouds wove their way through the sky as rain showers and chilly wind-gusts blew. Four of us undressed on the cold, wet stones; covered our piles of clothing from the rain and walked down the slippery stone stairs; quickly getting neck-deep in the tepid water. Our facilitator, Cyrise, sat fully clothed next to the sweet little pool with her frame drum and guided us with story, chant and prayer through the three ritual immersions. I find the mikvah to be a powerful place through ceremony and the elements, to let go, pray for the help I need and set specific intention to move forward in my life.
Our intimate gathering of women was very sweet. With the Iight rain and cool breeze, I felt chilled and quickly found myself sinking up to just below my nostrils to stay warm. I was close to the large stones in the back of the pool where warm spring waters were flowing from a little stone cave at eye level. Once I completed my immersions, I cozied-up to the large, milky-white, out-cropping of rock below the cave, from which the waters flowed. Water dripping from the crest of the little cave resembled a mix of raindrops and elongated tears. I pressed my belly up against the warm stones and merged my own tears of release with the watery drips from the the cave. As my vision cleared, I looked into the magical little cave opening, about the size of a tiny window and saw what looked like an emerald heart the size of my fist. The radiant green was direct from the fairy world. Instantly, I saw two massive yellow and black eyes sticking out and the green emerald became a brilliant, fat bullfrog. It was sitting to the right side of the little cave entrance, submerged except for its head. The frog was perfectly still and fully present, observing our ritual. I quietly motioned the other women to come closer and take a look. Someone said, "I don't think it's real." In answer, the frog immediately backed up and out of sight for a moment, only to quickly return to its former spot, perfectly still.
In the mikvah, face to face with this brilliantly beautiful frog, I understood how one could be lured into a magical kiss. It's magnificent, shining beauty and stillness was mesmerizing.
I was raised on princess and frog stories and images of "Fractured Fairy Tales" from my childhood, whooshed through my mind, as well as visions from summer days spent in the Iowa woods, picking up big, cool, bumpy toads. In the mikvah, face to face with this brilliantly beautiful frog, I understood how one could be lured into a magical kiss. It's magnificent, shining beauty and stillness was mesmerizing. The mikvah is about transformation. Waters flow, move and allow for the release of stagnant energies. Passover is about doing the work and having the courage to leave what is enslaving you. In these past several years as I have been going through a deep sense of awakening and transformation, I have been blessed with many teachers and loving guides-seen and unseen- often in the form of spirit animals.
As Passover begins this Monday evening, we will drip red wine onto our plates, remembering the Ten Plagues rained down upon The Egyptians by God. Frogs, the second plague, have been interpreted as being connected to The Egyptian's stubbornness and unwillingness to change; being "stuck in the mud." Rabbis in medieval times spoke of the frog plague as a teaching to remind us that there is peril in resisting change. I met Frog in the mikvah, following my ritual immersion and setting of intention to let go of the many stones I have been tripping over- the main one being fear of the unknown. Frog is the symbol of metamorphosis, rebirth, renewal, cleansing, abundance, fertility and ancient wisdom. On Friday, Frog became for me a symbol of freedom and leaving my self-imposed "Mitzrayim."
What are you willing to let go of in order to be free?
Many Blessings, Sari