The Temple Priestess Retreat December 2022
The themes of this retreat were based around The High Priestess and her roles in ancient times, the Warrior Priest and all who are ‘excluded’ or ‘knocking to be let in.’ The theme that resonated most with me was the isolated or forgotten / ignored / misunderstood members of society - particularly in relation to mental health.
As I process the content of the retreat over Christmas, having just recovered from a serious bout of COVID, I realise for me, the key connecting thread to all of this is about layers.
The High Priestess and the Warrior Priest
The High Priestess always appears to me very sexually. Making love to warriors returning from war, is one of her roles I most connect with.
After the adrenaline of battle wears off, the wounded warrior priest returns now aware of his pain, loss, shame and guilt.
She uses her body as a temple to slowly peel those emotions away and heal his deep wounds. It is more than physical comfort or pure physical release. Through channelling energy from the cosmos, she can see where all the pain hides, on all the physical, mental emotional and psychic level and transmute it using her body as a vessel.
The Relevance to Today’s World
A large part of the course focused on the excluded. For example, in our current culture veterans returning from war have seen and felt things most people cannot dream of. Often they return with PTSD and feel disconnected, alone and lost with no effective reintegration programme that deals with the deeper emotional conflicts they face. So they carry them around and find it hard to connect.
However actual war is not required to create a returning warrior in need of support (male or female) and there are many other forms of feeling excluded or having to hide parts of yourself, and this is the part of the course I wanted to look at most.
In a lot of my meditations and expressions during the week, I was drawn to layers and removing them. On the first night, I acted out the temple priestess greeting and healing the returning warrior priest. My dance involved removing multiple pieces of clothing as I was healed (warrior priest) by the high priestess. I later found out it was very similar to the story of Inanna’s descent into the underworld – where she takes off a layer at each of the seven gates until she is naked and stripped of all worldly possessions.
This is a powerful story that represents giving up everything worldly to achieve your deeper goals. A place of huge potential for transformation and rebirth and another way to describe visiting the underworld (shadow) through conscious choice.
Most people surround themselves with ‘layers’ or masks, physical or otherwise. I think of these as shadow aspects. Examples include women or men who can’t socialise without their kids or partner as a prop, people who use weight gain to hide and deflect attention from potential partners or the seemingly perfect person / couple who put their smiley mask on when out but are deeply unhappy if you dig under the surface.
Why Do This?
Subconscious drives and patterns are very powerful motivators. They are embedded by our conditioning, which can dictate how we behave and show ourselves. This then attracts people based on what our energy is projecting outwards. Fear traps a lot of people into acting how they feel they are supposed to. Or hiding parts of themselves from certain people / groups or even being very different personalities with different groups of people.
I personally did it for years – having two very different sides to my life (corporate world marketing director and very spiritual complimentary therapist). But when I integrated them and was able to speak openly about all of me, I realised firstly that most people don’t really care that much and more importantly how much unnecessary weight I had been carrying.
Masks and Mental Health
When you can take on one and say: ‘come on then’ and not be afraid of people seeing it anymore, it loses its power. It is no longer in your shadow it becomes a strength or ally. You can also choose when conscious of the masks you wear, which want to keep, and which are ready for the bin.
If you can take layers away, you can add them too. By this I mean as an example, you can remove a shame based low self-esteem issue, but you can also upskill, retrain, make positive new choices and thereby add new layers of sparkle to who you are.
It’s a Bit Like Art
Most of the art I do is layer based. You get a deeper image when you merge, subtract, dissolve and enhance. Think of yourself as a work art in constant creation. Experiment with auditioning layers, removing, changing the opacity of masks, adding or removing vibrancy. Just like with Photoshop, you are in control once you can see the original file clearly. Then you can play until you get effects that are dynamically you. No more people pleasing, please. You can create yourself out in the world, like an animator creates a 3d model. Add new layers or assets, remove the ones that don’t work, re-member who you really are and then own it.
I just wanted to tell you that the friend Kathy H whom I was uncertain about actually sent me a text 5 minutes after we had finished talking!!!! So we must have energised the link!!! And your wisdom to help me learn more also is good. I'm meeting her on Saturday, and we'll have a coffee etc.
A beautiful and moving image now graces my wall: layers of vibrant colour alternatively reveal and conceal forms of significance, depicted with emotion and artistry. The abstract quality is such that it is a timeless piece I will always value and enjoy.
PH Shotley Suffolk
Growing up in China, I have always interested in Fengshui. As we were moving to Ipswich, I googled Fengshui consultant locally and that is how I found Rachel. I am so glad that we connected through the email initially. The house move took 9 months, Rachel was so patient, and she offered me advice through the process. I was so excited to meet her the day after we moved in. It provided us with a lot of comfort and guidiance at the new home. With her consultation, we had a much better understanding of the new space. Rachel is very intuitive, she did the dowsing, cleared the geopathic stress by using 'acupuncture'. The ritual she carried out involved all family member, so it was rather special. By using Fengshui principle and combined with our personal astrology, Rachel pointed out where the 'special corners' in our house, for example the wealth, relationship, friends and helpful people etc; She also helped us choose the interior colour, elemental accessories, positive symbolism in art works etc. I am so glad that I have found Rachel. It made us settle in and connect with our new home much quicker. The declutter has given us a much healthier space to live in. Whenever I feel disconnected with our home, I try to use some of the Fengshui she taught us to refresh and cleanse. I am so grateful that I contacted Rachel at the first place.
I asked for Rachels help with a young family member. They were having mental health issues which involved refusing to attend school, withdrawing from friendship groups and showing signs of psychosis. Rachel discussed with me her findings regarding her birth date and time in relation to her specialised work. Together we put a plan in place as I was to help. I carried out her recommendations. She stated that this time would come to an end this Spring and they would be through the part of the chart that was causing the chaos. I am so excited to report that they were again attending school until the lockdown. She is fully interacting with her family and is again part of her friendship group. Due to the lockdown and her now being well she is catching up with the school work she missed and will be ready to start again when the time comes. She is now off all medication which included ADHD and antidepressant prescription drugs. I cannot thank Rachel enough. If you are on the fence regarding her work, don’t be, it will be the best thing you could do for yourself and those you care for.
"Before I got in touch with Rachel, I was at a loss to know what to do. I had bought a flat to rent out in Ipswich, but it attracted the wrong types of tenants. The previous three tenants had either not paid their rent or had left the flat in a very bad state of repair, or both. In effect, I was just chucking money into a big black hole. I wanted to keep the flat, which I would eventually pass on to my son, but I still had the mortgage to pay. After reading about feng shui and the effect it can have, I was keen to find out more. I contacted Rachel and she explained what she intended to do and why. Admittedly, I was a bit sceptical at first, but I was keen to give it a go. Much to my amazement, after a six month rent void, that same week, a potential tenant turned up at the flat. The couple liked what they saw and moved in within two weeks. Much to my relief, they also paid the rent on time. I highly recommend Rachel to anyone in a similar situation."
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