Updated: Nov 20, 2020
TW- mention of, but no explicit details of- boundary violations, sexual/physical/emotional/spiritual assault, kink, submission, domination
For an AUDIO version, please check back in a few days.
It's the New Moon in Scorpio and I'm thinking about boundaries and power.
In Anishinaabe culture, the November Moon is the Freezing Over Moon. This is the Lineage of the Land I call Home, it is not my lineage, but it does inspire the way I move with and across this Land. This Moon is the time of the Serpent. And like the energy of the Scorpion, we are called to shed our skin this time of the year, to be willing to be vulnerable in our dying back process, which is the beginning and end of an expansion.
In the Lineage of my Celtic Ancestors, this Moon is the Reed Moon. The Reed makes haunting music to call the Ancestors. The strength of the Reed is hidden beneath the water's surface in the muck of the pond, it is the roots. This Moon invites us to work with the Unseen within us, our roots, and the Unseen without, the Ancestors.
The Blackthorn is the Mother of Wood, and this is the protective tree of Samhain (Halloween). This Tree represents the dark and light halves of the year, the Crone reminding us how we have harmed others and ourselves and inviting us to pay our Spiritual debts.
This is a time of dying back to the roots and knowing our inner strength, our essence, our source of power. It is a time of accounting, with the Ancestors, of what we have done and learned in the last year, and letting go, shedding our protective skin that kept us safe when we were smaller.
When we identify with our boundaries, our edges become hard. Quantum physics knows that if you could see the space where two edges meet, you would see the atoms there engaging in a dance together. There are no hard edges, only a dancing exploration of the space between.
This week, as I was traveling along Lake Superior, I asked the Plants for a teaching about this time and my own journey. This is what they told me.
"Now is the time of dying back to the crown and roots. Now is the time of drawing energy down into the Earth. Smell the dirt and know that the dirt touching your roots smells of your roots and your root touching the dirt smells of dirt. Your roots have expanded in the growing season, and it's time to get to know your roots and to get to know and tend to the soil around them. Remember that while your external parts die back, the beauty remains for anyone who knows how to recognize it, and the seeds you created will nourish the birds who find their way to your tops. So, now, little one, as the Moon shifts and the Lake Freezes Over, let go of the outward expression of your brilliance and come home to the Womb space below."
I want to take you on a journey inward. Please check in with yourself to see if you would like to journey now. If you want to journey with your eyes closed, you may access an audio of this whole essay, see the link at the beginning...
I invite you to settle into your body for a few moments, using whatever tools you use for grounding. Noticing your breath, or the weight of your body on your bones. Noticing any sounds or smells or visuals in your field. Noticing any feelings, comfort or discomfort. Noticing a restless and need to sway. Noticing resistance to settling. Whatever it is, begin there.
Now, I invite you to connect with POWER. Do you feel it in your body? Where?
Focus on staying grounded.
Notice any contracting in the body.
A desire to protect.
Now, speak the word…
What do you feel and where?
Now move your awareness around your Power Centers or Chakras and notice what you feel.
POWER POWER POWER
Now, take some moments to settle this energy, integrate it and ground it back into the Earth.
Compost any feeling that you want to let go off by offering it to the Earth, Air, Soil, Fire. And let any feeling you want to keep to go deeper into your cells.
THIS is the source of Boundary Magick**. This vulnerability, the place of contraction, is the source, or points to the source, of power that wants expression or practice. Power and boundaries are inextricably connected. Practicing boundaries skillfully is practicing healthy use of power, and Magick is power, dominant or submissive power. (You don't have to be a dom to be in a position of power, healthy power in relationships is equally shared between dom and sub.)
So, how do we learn to engage our Boundary Magick with skill and right use of power?
Healing trauma, awareness, and practice...
This is the journey of Scorpio New Moon. How can we shed the boundaries that we have created in the last year so that our true power can become known to us? While many of us act as though boundaries are about how we engage with others, or how we allow others to engage with us, they are primarily about how we engage with ourselves, and, like skin, they can become limiting. When we identify with our boundaries, rather than dancing these edges, we are accepting restricted growth, because we are not allowing these old trauma cycles to be completed, to be healed.***
I don't like the word "boundaries". I feel that it's used to perpetuate the idea that humans are separate, to keep us apart.
In a world where many of us don't feel safe- because we are physical or emotional empaths, because we have experienced sexual, physical, emotional, spiritual abuse, because we have been worn raw by caretakers, friends or lovers- we have to find ways to protect ourselves and one another. And so, boundaries become weapon and/or shield.
A very wise, emotionally empathic, disabled femme friend of mine says "boundaries aren't created, they just are.” She talks about how our work is learning to negotiate them. On the one hand I agree with her, and this is the key to unlocking vulnerable connection with others. On the other hand, so many times I have experienced people creating boundaries to perpetuate separateness- not boundaries, but walls- to keep people out, to keep the vulnerable inner child safe. Fortifying our vulnerable spaces is a less skillful* practice of having boundaries.
Many of us were broken as children, not allowed to express our boundaries in healthy/skillful ways. We were forced to be submissive to parents and elders. This brokenness means that we were not allowed to learn how to skillfully express boundaries. And because our submission was related to force, not choice, we didn't learn skillful submission. Because we were modeled unskillful force, we learned unskillful dominance over others.
This is the root of the shame of exploring kink. I understand kink as any expression that links pleasure with pain, comfort with discomfort. For instance- drinking alcohol; smoking tobacco; abstaining from sex, indulging in sex; too much or not enough exercize or eating; jumping in freezing water; acupuncture; deep massage; loud music. Everyone (except maybe fully enlightened folx) engages in kink.
When I see adults learning how to come out of forced submission, learning how to navigate expressing boundaries, it's a mess. Often folks oscillate between unskillful submission and unskillful dominance. They either have no boundaries or they erect impenetrable walls.
Eventually, if we stay present with healing forced submission, we are able to understand how to protect our power source without keeping people out, we are able to make clearer statements about what we will or will not tolerate. Healing forced submission looks like reclaiming choices about our bodies, and choosing skillful kink expressions is a powerful way to heal this wound. Unskillful kink practices do more harm than good. However, when used with awareness AND intention to heal trauma (read: CONSENT, even in solo kink!) kink practice and play rewires trauma patterns in the brain and body.
Boundary Magick is about consent practice, primarily with myself. It’s about getting really real with the ways I accommodate or abandon myself with another person or entity. It is NOT about controlling what someone else does- it’s about fully owning my response or reaction to what happens in my life. It’s telling someone who I am experiencing triggers with "When you do this I am triggered. Right now I need to not be triggered in this way, so if this happens again, I might not be able to talk to you for a while." Boundary Magick is about healing trauma. But you gotta do the transformational work to heal it and expand into new boundaries to heal the trauma.
I say “we don’t have boundaries, we don’t create boundaries, we practice boundaries.” The practice is the same for everyone-dom/sub/switch/unknown. It's getting to know your Essence, which is your power source, and learning about how to channel that Essence in service to Life. When I practice boundaries to channel my Essence, I have more energy to do the things that I want to do. Theis practice allows me to be fully on my healing path. That doesn’t mean that I am constantly engaging and renegotiating boundaries. I know when I need to sit out a dance and rest.
In kink play there are consent questions that help folx navigate the re-wiring process and these questions can be used to help navigate Boundary Magick. If you choose to engage in this work, here is a list of questions to guide you.
What or how do you want to feel or experience?
What do you want me to do to you? (What do you want life to give to you?)
What do you want to do to me? (What do you want to give to life?)
What is my safe word? (What can you remind yourself and have others remind you when its too much? For me this is a mantra that is guided by my moon sign.)
How do you want to feel when this is experience is over?
What kind of post care do you need from me? (see my post about re-integration)****
What kind of post care from other and post self-care can I remind you about?
You can use these questions to re-navigate what boundaries you may need with a (physical/emotional/sexual/financial) intimate partner or to create guidelines about physical/sexual/emotional/intellectual kink role play. You can also use these questions to help you navigate trauma work, solo or with someone else. As boundaries are related to trauma, growing out of boundaries- Boundary Magick- means allowing trauma cycles to have some completion, which is uncomfortable because it means pushing past physical/emotional discomfort and moving out of the mental world of control, letting the body lead by fully trusting the body’s experiences.
So, as the New Moon swells toward the Full Moon in Gemini, I invite you to some New Year (Samhain is the Pagan New Year) Boundary Magick.
What growth from this year can you let die back from your identity, exposing more of our Essence which is longing to be expressed/witnessed/realized? Be with that Essence now until the Full Moon and see if you can channel it into making Beauty in your life.
How can you tend the soil that supports your Essence?
What is that Soil?
What can you compost to create fertile soil?
(Think, unskillful practices.)
Do you have tears to water it?
Passion to provide warmth?
(neither tears nor passion are needed year-round)
Remember to breathe life into the Soil.
Have you been too willing to accommodate a lover, friend or relative?
Have you put your self-love rituals on the backburner for too long?
Have you been too restrictive in some relationships?
Are there cracks in your boundaries that need filling so you are not dumping energy?
(these cracks may be because your boundaries are too extreme and don’t let you get your needs met)
What’s in the way of you committing to your desires and fantasies?
What kind of physical space is nourishing to your Essence?
What kind of emotional spaces are nourishing to your Essence?
What kind of physical touch is nourishing to your Essence?
What kind of intellectual stimulation is nourishing to your Essence?
What kind of food supports your Body?
What kind of movement supports your Body?
What words/ideas do you need to ask beloveds to remind you of?
What are your desires, fantasies?
Do you see edges that feel uncomfortable, but are asking you for attention? Can you take time to dance these edges with yourself or someone else? You can do a solo roleplay with the questions above.
Gettin’ Witchy- Create a Ritual
~You can create a dying-back or skin-shedding ritual, by first answering some of the questions from above.
~Because this work may feel unsafe and uncomfortable, it’s important to think about post-care!
Get really clear on how you want to feel, what you want to let go of and then do it.
~Create a safe vessel for the work- smudge, ground, call the directions, and honor the Indigenous Soil you occupy.
~Unbind yourself from your identity- slither across the floor, leaving your skin or clothes behind; slowly wither yourself from standing to the floor; or experience either of these movements in your body with or without moving.
~Make that lovely thing you left behind an offering to your garden (figuratively or literally, if your clothes are 100% natural) or the air or fire or water.
~Reserve time for loving the Essence that remains.
~Slow down and integrate. Drink water. Ask a friend to check in on you. Make sure to clear everything from your ToDo list for a full day. If you get shit done, cool, if not, don’t sweat it. Again check out my video on re-integration.****
In your re-integration time, take note of any sounds you heard, sensations on your skin, images or colors, smells you experienced in the ritual. This will help your body integrate the healing and help the Magick take root.
I want to take a moment to thank you for being with me in this journey and practice. It is an honor to share what I have learned on my journey and to channel new information. (Yes, some of this was channeled). It is an Honor to receive Teachings from the pPeople of the Land I call Home, the Anishinaabeg. It is an Honor to begin to re-weave my life with the Land, Song and Teachings of my Ancestors. And it is an Honor to be in a Body now and to share this journey with you all.
If you appreciate my words and my work, please like my FaceBook page, sign up for my email list, ask me for an individualized herbal, spiritual/ancestral, ritual-creation, allyship consultation. I also appreciate encouragement, gratitude, a gift for me or my kids (used toys!), a massage or a reading, a free movement class, a monthly donation, stainless steel 9 gallon pot, a cast iron claw-foot tub, you get the idea.
*Note- I use "skillful" and "healthy" interchangeably. The word "skillful" comes from my Buddhist lineage. I think the use of the words "skillful" and "unskillful" are less judgemental than "good"/"bad" or "healthy"/"unhealthy"
**Boundary Magick is the transformational practice of growing out of our old boundaries, reclaiming more space and power in our life.
***I honor you if it’s not the right time to do this work. Even reading this is part of the work, and it may take time to create a safe vessel for the work. I encourage folks to do this expansion work when they are ready. Boundaries are very important in keeping people alive, and nobody should pust past these walls without first being really able to do the work safely.
Monarda is a gender-qweer plant medicine worker, trauma-healing worker and witch. Their work centers around Liberation for all- People, Plants, Land. Guided by their Spiritual traditions- Buddhism, Paganism, and Catholicism- they see their life as practice and full of opportunities for growth. Monarda offers Spiritual Guidance around creating trauma-healing rituals, embodied somatic trauma recovery, and connecting with Plants for Emotional and Spiritual Healing. www.dancingmonarda.com