We find ourselves deep in the South on our beloved yearly spiral - the time of fire, shedding old skins as modeled by the sacred serpent. We release old stories. We liberate ourselves from old roles. We let go of old teachers. And - unexpectedly even receive wisdom from old versions of ourselves, lived long ago only to return with the exact knowledge-nugget we need in the present! (ALL TIME IS NOW!!!!!)
I unexpectedly reconnected with an old flame (I see what you’re doing there, South! #fire #shamanicpun) and much came up for healing - things neither of us knew lay dormant within our beings. In this story, we will call him Haco - the Celtic word for flame (according to google - don’t come for me if that’s inaccurate. #poeticlicense).
For us both, the relationship that started 23 years ago was done and dusted. A teenage love-story. We crossed paths in our 20s and flirted with reconciliation. It didn’t pan out. Ultimately our lives went different directions on different continents, and it was exactly as it was to be. Yet, something drew our energies back together two and a half decades later. Not so done and dusted, I guess.
Why did Haco come back into my life now? During the South? Why didn’t he reappear in the North, time of the ancestors and time of rest, or the East, time of rebirth, eagle’s eye-view? He reappeared in the South - at the end of the south, actually. What wants to be shed before I begin the next phase?
I’ve spent a lot of time in this year’s South letting things go - making space, shedding, growing new skin which feels simultaneously foreign and familiar. Becoming yet again another version of myself, as real and as illusionary as all other versions past and future. Tender and kind to myself in the vulnerable stage after shedding an old skin.
As this human who I love(d) returned as a character in my now-story, I was looking at it through the lens of shedding mode. I think this is very common when exes/past people come back. We tend to ask ourselves what is karmically unresolved? What needs to be addressed, let go of? What still needs resolution. All questions about what needs to go in order to be “liberated.”
And of course things came up for me - aspects of myself as a wounded healer surfacing for transformation. Mostly stuff I’m familiar with - more layers of the same ol’ shit. Yes, ok ok ok, letting it go… again. Codependency patterning asking to become self-trust; aspects of low self-esteem via a wounded inner child wishing to become radical self-love; internal comparison stories of sizing up who/what is better about our lives wanting to become self-acceptance; neediness and regret transforming into gratitude and divine perspective. We reminisced and apologized for shitty behavior through the lens of forgiveness that only the passing of time can provide. We shared stories of life’s wins and losses experienced over 23 years. All beautiful, healing, healthy exchanges. Yet - we kept asking the question - why now? Why do we keep crossing paths?
Were we meant to be together?
No - otherwise it would be so.
Did we make a mistake not following through all those years ago?
No - the paths we walked were the right ones. And while a ‘together path’ would have been different, that doesn’t mean it would have been better.
Do we have anything to resolve?
Yes and No - what needed resolution happened within a conversation or two. And it was gentle and easy.
Is there a karmic connection that wants to be healed?
No - not in the classic sense of ‘heal karmic wounding, GTFO of my present incarnation, and don’t come back!’
Are we… still in love?!?!
No - we’re both partnered and living our own lives.
I have to pause for a moment and give Haco some major props. We could not find a satisfactory answer to the question “why are we talking again” beyond the generic it’s-been-years-how’d-life-shape-up-for-ya reasoning. But we both knew it was there. In an attempt to resolve something I couldn’t even identify other than it being uncomfortable, I was running us through ritual options ranging from past life journeying to cancellation of all agreements and cutting of chords. At that point he said, “Why? If we are encountering each other again, there’s a reason.” Haco was right. As I presented the “cleansing scenarios” I could feel that none of them were the right move (hi lesson of divine timing and patience, damn).
His words rang in my head for days. There’s more here that wants to be discovered. Had I followed through with cleansing activities, it would have been a spectacular avoidance strategy in classic spiritual bypassing form (which, tbh, would have probably entangled us even more).
Unable to answer the question, I surrendered. I lay in bed, restless under a full moon, and asked my whole-self to give me an answer as I slept. And boy did I have a shitty sleep that night. I woke up a bajillion times. Had weird dreams. I tossed and turned. My partner tossed and turned. The cats tossed and turned. The full moon shone directly in my eyes the *entire* night through the thick foliage of the linden tree outside my window AND closed blinds (rude!).
When I woke up. I knew. At least I knew in part (the story is still unfolding).
As I awoke, groggy yet remarkably alert, my inner voice said to me:
“What wants to return?”
Holy fuck, that would not have occurred to me in a thousand years of “strategic spiritual exploration.”
“What wants to return?” Hmmmm… what DOES want to return. In all my efforts to shed and let go, I was not paying attention to the other side of the coin - which is what wants to come. When I do, it’s usually something like “what new wants to come in.” But this wasn’t the case. This is late-south wisdom (at least how I sense it at this moment). This wasn’t something new. This was an old aspect that is new to my current self (hi East teachings of birth/death/rebirth - I see you <3 ). This was something I already had and that wanted to come back. So what was it?
The answer came over a couple of days as I went about my daily life interspersed with conversations with Haco.
You see, the person I met AFTER Haco was the character who catalyzed me to embark on this healing journey. I would probably not have pursued shamanism had it not been for them. This post-Haco antagonist served to reveal all my deepest wounding. That relationship forced me to take a deep look at myself and begin to work on radical healing. So... thanks post-Haco antagonist? BUT, before post-Haco antagonist entered my life I was a different person - someone who had some personality traits that I DESPERATELY want/need right now. Traits that belong to me! That version of me functionally stopped existing shortly after Haco and I parted ways the last time about 18 years ago. And aspects of THAT version of me want to return… no, NEED to return.
Nicole-ca-2005 was extremely responsible, focused, accountable, honorable. She was the person everyone knew would show up no matter what and get it done. She excelled at everything she did. She was simply the best. She was a Type-A hustler! Nicole-ca-2005 believed in herself and in her dreams. She had not yet met countless rejections and been wounded into apathy and “non-attached, zen vibes” regarding success (or lack thereof). She had goals and an unwavering belief she’d be the one to “make it.” Now - those things also had their shadow aspects, which the following Nicole(s) dealt with over 20+ years of spirit work. But now-Nicole needs to reintegrate Nicole-ca-2005.
In order to level up to what I wish to do with my life, I need to invite the lightful version of Nicole-ca-2005 back into my being to be reintegrated in this more wise vessel.
This is one of the things that my reunion with Haco gifted me - as I understand it thus far. It was not the need to clean and clear. It was not a reunion with a long-lost love. Talking with Haco again and reconnecting with past-me realigned me with that version of myself and all her strengths.
The divine medicine of the old flame reminded us both of the best parts of who we were (and may have lost touch with) and invited us to support each other to level up now in a different constellation - as friends and accountability buddies. Such a divine, incredibly beautiful soul service to one another. What Haco and I have is something that embodies the true meaning of soul-mate as I now know to be true: souls in service of each other's greatest good and highest potential, showing up throughout time until the job is done. And many soul-mates we have, all serving different purposes in our lives and vise versa. God, thank you Haco! I am so grateful!
And to Nicole-throughout-all-time - thank you for being open and receptive to this wisdom! Thank you for having your eyes and heart open to recognize and receive this amazing level-up. You're doing great!
To my beloved Nicole-ca-2005 - I honor you. I invite you, your glorious strengths, and your divine wounds into our being and receive you with open arms. Welcome home. I love you.
Oh, and wait until I tell you about all the weird shit that’s happened since 2005 - you won’t believe it!
P.S. You’re a shaman now!
I'm a musician, shamanic practitioner, and spirit in human form who passionate about all the transformational magic life has to offer. This blog is about my insights and experiences on the shamanic path. Life is a woven tapestry of wisdom offered to us by the universe. That's what I'll write about here, through a shamanic/spiritual lens.