Soulskin Journeys emerged to support us in recognizing, encouraging, and heeding the unique voice that calls us to True Home. It blossomed as a potent antidote to the toxicity of the overculture that uproots us and prescribes us a life of over-doing and overstaying our existence on the surface of life, which drains us of our wild and vital life force.
The personal birth story of Soulskin Journeys:
One day I woke up in a new town as a mama of a 1 and 3 year old and a partner to an overstressed husband. Though the surface of my life was comfortable, I was bone dry, exhausted, lonely, irritable and struck by a chilling amnesia: Who am I? Where did I go? What are my dreams? What is my true purpose here? What brings me a sense of purpose and aliveness?
This wasn’t a search for remembering who I was before giving so much as a mother, what the dreams of my youth were, or a grasping for an old identity. This was an opportunity to rekindle a new relationship with myself, my family, my community, the land, soul and spirituality. It was an alarm calling me immediately Home.
Though I had been attempting self care through carving the time for solo hikes, my spiritual practices, dates with friends, catching up on sleep, etc., I realized that I wasn’t fully returning to my soul home. Sometimes I was simply going through the motions, or it was like an escape, and once I returned, there were no gifts to integrate back to my day to day existence.
I wasn’t deepening my connection with the life force that would nourish my mundane life. I felt lost. All the practices and methods that, historically, brought me into wild aliveness and in touch with something greater than me, I couldn’t grasp. The methodologies didn’t produce the soul medicine I was desperate for. I recognized I needed to go deeper, that it wasn’t about “what” I was doing, it was about accessing an energy below the surface that would immerse my being in the waters that would sustainably fill my well. But where to start?
This was no small task and I did not know what kind of guidance or framework to follow. What I did know is that I trusted the map of nature. Our life cycle, the annual year, and the diurnal day, all flow with the cardinal directions. Each direction has an archetypal nature in its design. With this, I followed my inner compass and asked for spiritual support to guide the evolution of my process. And so, my journey began.
I began my journey intellectually, seeking from other’s wisdom through books and talks. Though this proved to not be a journey of the head, there were a few treasures that dropped me deeply into the current of soul, and true home. These teachers included: Bill Plotkin beginning with his book “Soulcraft: Crossing into the Mysteries of Nature and Psyche”; and Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estes’ book, “Women Who Run With the Wolves: Myths and Stories of the Wild Woman Archetype.” It was specifically Dr. Estes' story about the Seilke, titled “Sealskin, Soulskin”, that broke me wide open and resonated with my living story down to the core.
Unlocking my trusted pathway home took a profound turn when I tapped into my own intuition. The first thing I knew was that I needed support. I set the intention of finding sisterhood. I took a vulnerable chance and connected with a friend of a friend who was hosting a women’s circle. When I walked into that sacred space of sisters sharing their magic, truth telling, and authentic support of one another, I cried in celebration of a homecoming to an ancient belonging in my bones.
Further unlocking occurred while facilitating one of my family nature club outing. As an advocate for outdoor, unstructured free play, and creating a childhood steeped in curiosity and wonder, I invited parents to follow their children’s lead and to get lost in the same state of awe. On this particular outing, I had the revelation that I too needed to nurture myself back through the wheel of my own life—-to rebirth, to foster a robust childhood and healthy emergence into my adult self.
My rite of rebirth started in the East with sunrise. Over and over, I greeted the dawning day and my life. The babe of me integrated the gifts of receiving, presence, spirit, attentiveness, and quietude. Then, I nurtured that young one of me to follow her curiosities, engage with the world fresh and new, unnamed and undefined, all senses wide open. She began to experience and learn about herself in a new way. She learned to listen to and trust herself, and she experienced her inextricable belonging to the wild world.
Later, I faced South, the ripe fullness of the day and myself. I gave the blossoming one of myself permission to play, unabashed, and unconforming, to let me follow my longings and impulses of the present moment and be guided into wild aliveness. The gifts of passion, risk, arousal, and a recognition of my own uniqueness and the fruits of my being emerged.
Eventually, I felt called to face the West, the setting sun, and the calling of my true adulthood. Here, I got curious about what was lying below the surface, in the unseen darkness where the sun disappeared. I enacted little deaths of the ways of being that no longer fit, I gave myself permission to grieve, and I placed my faithful hand into Mystery's, surrendering to a bewildering underworld soul journey that found me enacting self designed ceremonies, vision fasts, vigils, and courting my own medicine. One morning while I was deeply immersed in this journey, I woke up with instructions and a knowing that I would hold a “Soulskin Circle,” like this one I was traveling on. I had no idea what that meant at the time, but everything in me knew there was a truth in this sacred instruction. Part of the journey for me was trusting those mysterious orders, and ultimately risking my significance to be in service of this great calling, this givaway- the Soulskin Journeys.
My purpose and service would not be possible without the support of elders, mentors, teachers, and guides, who dwell in the spirit of the North. They directed me to my own North Star- to the knowing, Wise Woman of my own self whose wisdom always navigates my path to True Home. I am forever grateful to these human and more-than-human, seen and unseen ones for their guidance.