Where in the World is Ayamanatara?

Every year, for the past 13 (this will be my 14th), at the end of the summer I have packed up and headed for the desert. I tend to just tell people I’m going on retreat, because that’s what it is for me. I’m off the grid, dealing with extreme weather conditions, in sacred space. Every year, something arises from nothing and then disappears again. You can find whatever you are seeking, but it’s a better experience if you go in without expectation. Most people who go, at some point during the week, have a spiritual crisis, a breakdown, a death of the ego, and they come out stronger for it.

But there’s a reconnection with the spirit of childhood. Remember kindergarten? When you had something really cool, and you just wanted to share it with everyone? When you wore what seemed fun? Where everything could be art? When a sandwich and a nap could fix most things? That.

The something that arises from nothing is, amongst other things, an experiment in temporary community, a city of (now) over 65,000 people that is built and disappears without a trace again in less than a month. Under those conditions, people have the opportunity to experiment with their ideas of community, to conduct themselves differently, to express themselves more authentically. There is little authority, and people have the chance to resolve their difficulties without outside influence. You can, essentially, ask for an adult if you really need one, and there are several law enforcement agencies on site, so there isn’t any true lawlessness.

The entire event takes place on an alkali dry lake bed, essentially a dry, salty clay that eats through your belongings and your skin, stripping away everything, whether you’re ready for it or not. I suspect this contributes to shamanic-death-cum-nervous-breakdown that so many experience. The bullshit, the masks, the safety net – they all get taken by the desert. But it’s magical. I learn something new about myself every year.

There is almost no commerce. There is sharing, what is called a “gifting economy.” You can buy ice , or coffee, or get your RV pumped, but money is prohibited from changing hands in any other circumstance. You’re not even really supposed to barter, although people do. It’s a huge paradigm shift, you can’t really fault people for not being able to fully wrap their heads around it.

The event has brought a term, formerly the purview of wilderness backpacking enthusiasts, into a wider vocabulary – Leave No Trace. You bring what you need, you pack it all back out again. The desert is, by the end of October, returned to its original state. Because of this, you are encouraged to not even let things hit the ground. You pick up anything you see on the ground. You are even asked to spend some time helping clean up communal areas before going home. The idea is to leave it as you found it or better.

What if we approached everything in life that way? What if it was all about sharing what you had and leaving everything better than how you found it? Honestly, I don’t think you need a retreat to start bringing that ethos into your life.

I suppose I am a bit hypocritical, at least in one regard. I don’t really want to share this event with more people. I expend more than a little energy trying to convince people not to go, at least not if they haven’t been before. Part of it is that I don’t think it’s for everyone. There are so many reasons not to go, really. It’s dusty, it’s harsh, it takes a lot of energy, you have to be extremely self-reliant, it’s hard to completely unplug from the world for 4-10 days, and, frankly. It’s expensive. I figure, if you’re really meant to go, you don’t need my encouragement. And forewarned is forearmed.

Anyway, that’s where I am. I’ll be back in September…

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Posted in Abundance, Community, Events, magic, Musings, Practice, Summer

September’s Newsletter

The monthly special will be updated here on the website when I return from retreat. In the meantime, here is what I had to say about September in the newsletter. If you’re not on my mailing list, and you would like to be, you can sign up here.

Blessings to you and yours!

September is historically the crescendo of the year, that month when all of the themes you have been working on are brought to their height. So now, at the beginning of the month, is a great time to assess what it is that you have been manifesting, processing, or learning over the last 8 months. But don’t worry, if you don’t bother to sit down and do that, it will still be obvious to you by the end of the month what your themes have been. Me, I just feel like forwarned is forearmed.

Universally, 2014 has been a year in which we have all been offered the opportunity for enlightenment, self-discovery, and of seeing how we can be more of service to the world at large. I’m not sure the planet’s population as a whole has risen to the challenge, but all the Universe can do is offer us the opportunity for growth; in a free will universe, it is still our decision what we do with that offer.

The Autumnal Equinox, this year on Tuesday, September 23rd, offers us, very specifically, the chance to let go of the ego, to drop all our masks, and to get out of our own way. Again, if we choose not to, I have found it true that we get to experience the death of the ego, large or small, one way or the other. I’ve always found conscious work to be less traumatic. If you would like to do some conscious work on your own ego issues, set aside some time on the 18th for self-searching and contemplation. Go somewhere quiet, preferably out in nature. Take your journal. Think about how you get in your own way and in the way of the wonderfully functioning machine that is the Universe, as it tries to bring you all of the abundance and joy you can handle. If you have a tradition of prayer, you might start by praying for guidance and clarity. If not, you could set your intention for that same clarity. Go into a loose meditation and witness what gets shown to you. Doing some writing on the general themes that come up will be even more enlightening.

The most powerful days of September are likely to be the 9th, the 18th, and the 27th. These are considered to be the triple intensity days of September and, therefore, of the year. Pay special attention to what happens on those days, personally and globally. Write it all down, so you can look back at the end of the month and see the patterns. This sort of exercise is how you train your awareness to see what it is the Universe is trying to tell you.

Hold your loved ones close and be especially aware of ways in which you allow perceived differences to separate you from others.

May you be the Light of the World!

Posted in Classes, Meditation, Newsletter, Numerology, Personal growth, Practice, Seasons

Weekly Round Up of Web Links

Researchers investigate what it means to ‘hear voices’

10 Things You Can Learn From A Good Relationship

Walden reminds me that when I feel lacking – I don’t need new things, I need new eyes with which to see the things I already have.

Natural Pain relief

Three tips for building wealth with magic

Pope Francis’ 10 Tips to Be Happier

Time is an illusion

A new theory about habits

Please note that there will be no round up next week. This feature will return on 9/5.

Posted in Abundance, Health, magic, Musings, Personal growth, Tools, weekly round up

Monthly Special

Tree of Life Reading
An in-depth reading. Some of the draws will offer suggestions for meditations or exercises which should be followed in order to receive a full understanding of the reading.
only $99
through August 20th

Ayamanatara’s Latest Book

Faery Spiral
Faery Spiral:
Library of Arcadia
Volume 1: Coming Home

is now available for download or pre-order a signed copy!

Other Downloads Include

The digital edition of The Shift
The Pain meditation series: Blessing the Pain, Breathing into the Pain, Controlling Pain, Reducing Pain, and General Well Being
...and more!