After attending a sacred ceremony, spending some time doing some deep reflection on your journey will help you to discover some of the lessons or gifts that you were given during your experience.
Do not assume that all the work was done in ceremony or you will be missing out on major teachings and insights. Much more will continue to be revealed to you if you stay in conversation with your experience. There are many different ways to keep your experience and the transformation alive and I will offer a few tips here.
It is common that individuals will experience a vivid image, a clear embodied experience, or have insights around their own spirituality or psychological makeup.
At this point, you can reflect on why this experience was given to you in a sacred ceremony. Out of all the possible experiences or images you could have received why this one? Do not expect an answer right away. Instead, sit with this experience over time and let it reveal more as you continue to converse with it.
Potent images or body sensations symbolically reveal something about your nature or your own psychological makeup.
For example, if you have a vision of an animal appearing to you, it can be reflecting a power or a medicine that you have within you that may still need to be cultivated.
An important thing to note it that there is never one interpretation to an experience or an image. They are living experiences that continue to take new forms over time. Allow the meaning to continue to reveal itself to you by reflecting back on your experience periodically. One image can take on new meaning weeks, months, or years later. If you keep track of these images, then you can look back on them and gain more insight.
If you are working with an image or archetype, I suggest that you do not limit the interpretation to what you read in a book.
An image or experience has personal meaning so a book can only give you the collective interpretation. Allow the image to have its own unique meaning for you. You can utilize the book to give you some insights and then feel into how the symbolism resonates with you personally.
Another thing to note is it that not every experience has a logical explanation that you can explain cognitively. You have to open up to other ways of knowing to receive the insights. Many people are used to interpreting from the left brain, which offers logic, linear thinking, fact, words etc… Some of these experiences go beyond logic and heal us in other ways.
The right brain is the place of feeling, imagination, visualization, intuition, and creativity. Working on these levels can continue a transformative process without necessarily a clear explanation of how.
It is important to let go of relying on logic to believe that the transformation is happening.
In fact, many recent studies have found the engaging the right brain to address trauma is more effective than using techniques that engage the left brain.
I have suggestions of some practices you can do to tap into the right brain. If you have a tendency to try and figure things out, then be aware of resistances that may come up when considering practices that involve the right brain. Allow the right brain practices to spark intuition and inner knowing. Allow yourself to be guided in ways that do not make sense. Your body knows how to heal itself, but it’s easy to get in your own way when you are fixated on figuring something out or making sense of it. Try some of the practices mentioned in #3.
5 Ways to continue to engage with your experience
1. Write down the images and experiences that stood out to you the most during your journey.
Writing them down will allow you to look back at them over time, which can lead to more insights. Writing can also help deepen your reflection.
2. Reflect on the significance of these experiences.
Every experience has something potent to teach you. Through deep reflection you can allow your experience to teach you over years.
Engage in a practice that allows you to calm your mind and then sit with your experience. You can meditate, go on a long nature walk, practice yoga, attend a tea ceremony, engage in deep relaxation, or whatever gets you into a more receptive state of consciousness. After your mind is calm then explore some of the reflection questions that are listed below:
When you bring your experience to consciousness what does it invoke in you?
What emotions arise?
What do you notice in your body?
Allow the wisdom of the body to provide you with insights. When you connect to a vivid body sensation notice if it brings up memories, feelings, images, etc.
Is this a familiar feeling? Have you felt this in other periods of your life? Ask yourself how this experience could potentially be a response to your original intention for that ceremony? Imagine for a moment that everything in your experience was a response to your intention.
Have you noticed any interesting or significant encounters in the days following your experience? Dreams? Notice how the universe provides you with opportunities to put your experience into practice. Pay attention to how the lesson is playing out in day to day life.
What is this experience asking of you? Is this a call to action? Is this asking you to change a pattern? Is this helping to awaken a part of you? Is this helping you remember who you are? How are you being asked to live differently? How can you use your experience to give back to the greater Earth Community?
Be aware of relationships that don’t seem to fit into your life anymore.
Be aware of new relationships and how they might be supporting a new part of you that is emerging. If you clear something energetically there is usually an external clearing that happens as well. The deeper the clearing the more that will shift in your external life. Noticing how your external life changes will provide you with greater insight on how you are being transformed and guided to live differently.
3. Find a non-verbal way to express this experience.
Use your right brain! Your experience can continue to transform you through your body, through imagery, and through engaging experientially. For example, if you recall an image, feeling, or body sensation from your experience and you start dancing as you bring it to consciousness you can start to experience the embodiment of this image.
How does it make you move? When you move what feelings arise? Allow your body to move freely. By doing this, not only can you receive insight, you can also allow your experience to release or awaken energy in your body. The transformation and integration may be happening on a non-cognitive level.
- Place art materials in front of you and start drawing or painting freely as you hold the image, sensation, or experience in your consciousness. Notice what arises in you.
- Make a collage
- Use clay to create something
- Have a partner look at your image or creation with you. Have that partner refrain from interpretation, but have them ask you questions and share how they experience the image. Let them share what it invokes in them and notice how you respond. This could go deeper with a guide that is trained in working with symbolism and the unconscious.
4. Use trance states to reconnect to your experience and continue to dialogue with the medicine or your guides.
You can engage in a drum journey, enter into a deep dance, meditate for a long period of time, attend guided holotropic breathwork, or attend a sound healing event. Re-entering into trance state will help to get your ego out of the way so you can allow other senses to guide you. I often incorporate drum journeys when doing integration with people because they can open up their vision or senses again in order to continue to communicate with the plants or the deep unconscious.
5. Keep this experience in your records to reflect on over time.
Notice if a theme continues to repeat itself. For example, an animal may appear to you in ceremony and then you may have a nature encounter with it. This animal may show up in your dreams or in other trance states. You can get to know how this animal is guiding you or teaching you when you explore your relationship through these different avenues.
For more information on practices for integration watch my video (Insert Link)