I am the daughter and the granddaughter of combat veterans. I have learned to see, and slowly understand, the negative impacts of post-traumatic stress on warriors and their families. In my personal life, my experience with my father led me to my own healing, and over the years in my vocation as a shamanic practitioner, I have become more aware of the prevalence of trauma in our culture, in men and women , veteran and civilian.
In January of 2016 I participated in a training workshop hosted by a nonprofit called Opus Peace which trains healthcare providers to be Soul Injury Ambassadors. Opus Peace was created by retired Veterans Administration hospice nurses, and over the years these women have tended over 10,000 veterans as they died. Over the years they learned what lingers with Warriors on their deathbeds. They found that unmourned grief and unforgiven guilt are the roots of many deep pains. They have given a name to the patterns they have seen, Soul Injury. Their original vision for their nonprofit was to help veterans understand and begin to tend their Soul Injuries. They have expanded their mission to include all people, because all people have experienced Soul Injuries, both obvious and insidious.
I shared the meditation below in a women’s communal hearing healing ceremony in Tucson Arizona on September 4, 2016. In the days before the ceremony, many and various stories of women that I have heard over the years have been bubbling up in my mind. Stories of taking action and stories of regretted inaction, each one revealed to have caused pain, regret, sadness and loss. This experience is not just for men, or war veterans. Women are all too familiar with Soul Injuries, created in moments of life, and over a lifetime. In preparation for the ceremony I was asked, “Which Archetype do I want to share with women?” I answered “Warrior”.
In this storytelling meditation I ask over 20 women to look at their Warriorness as women. Every day in every culture for so many generations, women have been Warriors. We have fought for something we love, we have done or said something in the face of danger, we have run away or hid to survive, we did not do or say something for the greater good, we froze and made mistakes. Even though they hurt, we box the feelings away and keep going. In our fight, flight, restraint, and frozen moments of our lives are our Soul Injuries. The blessing is that now we have tools that actually help us move towards healing of these past pains. We can do this sacred work for us, for our children, and our ancestors.
Listen as I guide you, with the Rattle and the Bell, into some places of memory of your Female Warrior. I apologize if connecting with these past experiences causes you any emotional pain. A number of women in the room were crying. Please know that your healing and wholeness is held in the most sacred way by so many Women, Goddesses and Ancestors.
This 16 minute meditation was recorded live with 20+ women. Feel free to change the pronouns to what suits you because this experience can be helpful to anyone.