sacred circles

Sacred Space - Containing and Transforming

Let's talk about containers...cocoons, wombs, caves...Circles.  And I'll throw in a little about squares too.

Over the years, in my work and study with dreams, and learning Dreamwork, I have become quite familiar with the idea of sacred space.  That is - space that is designated for doing deep and healing inner work.  The Greek word for this concept is temenos.  That's where the square comes in.  It's why we have square churches and square courtyards, square courtrooms, and square baseball diamonds.  They contain.  (In 2013, when I was beginning the shift in my own work, I wanted to name the business "Temenos."  The name was already taken!)

A few years later, I was reminded of the concept of the Sacred Circle in a Jungian DreamWork class.  It is the same idea, but comes from a different tradition.  "It is an old Goddess ritual to bathe--purify--to don the white gown--the garb of descent to the land of the dead--and to draw a circle of magic protection--sacred thought--around oneself." (from Women Who Run with the Wolves, Clarissa Pinkola Estes).

In my class, the professor encouraged us to create some type of circle when doing dreamwork, active imagination, or any other type of inner work that would engage the unconscious.  A message to both the conscious mind, and the vast contents of the unconscious, that "I am serious - I want to listen - I want to go deep!"  

So I began gathering my precious items - hunks of rose quartz and other crystals, rosaries, metal crosses, artwork - and forming a Circle around the space that I was doing some type of inner work, creating a program, or writing what I intended to share publicly.  I was creating a Sacred Circle in which to bring that which was coming out of the unconscious, into my conscious mind. (I used to worry that if someone were watching this behavior they would have had some serious questions about my mental stability - but I did it anyway!)

I realized I had been doing this for years!  Building and walking labyrinths.  Turning my round glass top table into an altar.  Painting the Celtic triad in my house.  And beginning to meet in Circle with other women, mostly, under the guidance of Heather Elizabeth of SHE.  

The significance of how I had been tapping into the energy of the Sacred Circle - how it had been holding me, protecting me, providing a container for growth and transformation - was brought to my awareness in such an incredibly synchronistic way! See Dreams, Synchronicity and The Handless Maiden for this story!

Maybe you are beginning to see the back story of how I have come to take this work so seriously.  There is nothing that I ask you to consider investing in - whether that be time, energy, practice, or money, that I haven't done myself.  

My journey continues - I am amazed at what keeps unfolding - and unfolding, like a never ending opening of a beautiful flower!  And I want that for you!  I suspect that you are wanting it for yourself too, or you wouldn't even be taking the time to read this blog.

How do you want to begin?  I have laid out the options for ways I can accompany you on your own journey - the treasure hunt, I like to think of it.  Just click on the link.  Everything you will find there allows you to begin to experience that sacred container, in varying degrees.  

And know this - no matter when you choose to peel back your own layers - The Sacred Circle is always there for you.  We are always and continuously held by the Divine Spirit, where there are such vast and plenteous resources for the drawing on!

with gratitude and love, peace and healing!


Dreams, Synchronicity, and The Myth of the Handless Maiden


Look for my blog posts about how I have used sacred circles to do my own inner work, and a little about where the concept comes from.  It's the idea that actually marking off physical space helps our psyche get the message that we are serious about this inner work business, that we really do want to meet what is in the underground of the unconscious.

I want to share here what I received as an amazing experience of synchronicity that helped bring the whole idea of sacred circles into my awareness in a powerful way! Here is that story...

I was very excited to have the opportunity to take a class on Jungian principles in DreamWork at the Seminary of the Southwest in Austin, taught by Pittman McGehee, in the Winter/Spring of 2015.   I had already been working with my dreams for over 15 years, reading and studying with the writings of recognized teachers in the field - John Sanford, Robert Johnson, Joyce Rockwood Hudson, among others.  I had attended a dream conference at the Haden Institute, and had been offering dream retreats and groups, as well as guiding my clients in their own dreamwork.

All that to say that I was quite familiar with the principles, but enjoyed the teachings of Pittman McGehee and believed I had much to learn from him.

Following the first week of class, I received a detailed dream (CAUTION: it's a little graphic!!) in which, along with other symbols, there was an image of an intricate replica of a piano, the size of dollhouse furniture or a music box. Also in the dream, my sister's right ring finger was cut off in the process of chopping vegetables. There is much action that I am involved in to reattach the finger, which is unsuccessful, the dream ending with the detached part of the finger dried and shriveled, and the hand bleeding.

Also that same night I dreamed that my baby grand piano had been burned out (actually a recurring dream). As I sat in that next class, the discussion became centered around feminist issues, with some conflict within the class arising. Pittman spoke in a very relaxed manner, saying something like “this is the issue of how the patriarchy has cut off the feminine, what the myth of The Handless Maiden is about.”

Immediately I recalled my dream, and was curious to explore this. I knew exactly where I could find The Handless Maiden, as I had read it some years previously in The Women Who Run with the Wolves, by Clarissa Pinkola Estes.  It was on my bookshelf.  Within 5 seconds, Pittman then said, “You know, that's what the movie The Piano, is about.”

My mouth dropped open - “Oh my God!” I thought. If I may have not received the message the first time around, here it was delivered to me again.  (Remember the pianos in my dreams??) There was no doubt that his comment was for me, and that my next task was to reread The Handless Maiden.

I proceeded to pull out my copy as soon as I returned home that night. In the very beginning of the story of The Handless Maiden, the young woman is inadvertently sold out to the Devil by her unawares father.  It was in reading this story and Clarissa's interpretation of it in light of the feminine journey of healing and awakening, that I came to understand the concept of a Sacred Circle in much more depth!

"The day the Devil came to fetch her she bathed and put on a white gown and stood in a circle of chalk she'd drawn around herself.  When the Devil reached out to grab her, an unseen force threw him across the yard." (p.422)

The maiden's act of drawing this circle of chalk around herself was the signal to her unconscious mind that she was ready to grow, ready to See herself, ready to take on the shadowy parts of her nature, and ready to bring forth her own inner and intuitive wisdom.

So, you see, that's what all this sacred circles and container energy is all about!  It's hard work.  It's deep work. And it's exciting work.  It takes a great deal of commitment, time, energy, and financial resources.  Probably the greatest investment you could ever make!  The individual offerings I have designed - Indigo, Turquoise, and Emerald of Becoming Your Heart's Treasure  - will guide you on that journey, just like The Handless Maiden reflects.  (In person, phone, or Zoom sessions)

Or possibly you are in a place along your path where belonging to a group that is intentional about connecting with the Divine Spirit, and connecting within, is the thing that would assist you on your spiritual and healing journey.  That's where Sacred Circles can meet you.

Re-reading The Handless Maiden, in the context of all that I had learned and in looking back over my dreams (turns out I had lots of images that were related to "handless," including one in which my own hand had been severed, and began to grow back!), and with Clarissa Pinkola Estes' brilliant commentary, I saw each step of my own journey reflected in this tale.  As all fairy tales go, it tells many truths of our psychological unfolding and growth in a symbolic way.  This is what we will begin to explore in the online group, Sacred Circles in May.

For now, I just wanted to share with you this additional layer of how it is that I came to be so passionate about doing inner work, and creating sacred space in which others can do theirs.  There is another story of synchronicity (actually 2 of them) that came out of that Jungian class.  I actually didn't learn much more content, and I was kind of disappointed in what the professor did NOT share.  But, these synchronicities and how they guided my own work was definitely worth the time and money!  I'll tell those another time!

with gratitude and love, peace and healing!  Alisa

Held in Love and Healing Energy

One of our basic human needs is to belong.  We are born into families for a reason!  We naturally are drawn to living in communities.  And we grow and heal and transform within the context of a group of people who are supportive and loving.  Who listen and share.

Would you like to be a part of a group of people with whom you can walk alongside in your journey of life?  Be open with your spiritual experiences and beliefs?  Share the raw and vulnerable times of life?  I invite you to consider Sacred Circles!!

What makes a group capable of holding these valuable, and sometimes, tender, places within us, is the kind of container that is created for it.  

In Sacred Circles, the online InterSpiritual group of Eye of the Heart, it has been my intention to establish a strong and loving container within which you are able to do the heart opening and soulful work of connecting, transforming, growing and healing. 

Although showing up for the Live Circle is definitely one of the aspects that facilitates healing and change for Sacred Circles members, it is only one aspect of the container.  (I will say, though, that it is some kind of powerful when all come for the Live Circle!)

Each member is held in the arms of the sacred container that has been created, regardless of physical presence on the day of the Circle.  There is another energy that is connecting, working, loving, and healing in between.  Yes, the recording that is available helps us transcend time and space.  But it's more and deeper and vaster than that.  You are in the Circle.

I am seeing amazing openings, revelations, and healing, that simply being a part of the Circle has contributed to.  It's like agreeing and committing to it, brings up that THING that is preventing you from really being fully YOU; from fully showing up in the world!

Whether that is the fear of being judged; the fear of expressing emotions in front of others; the fear of going into a painful place inside that you would rather avoid; or the fear of taking the time for a 2 hour group every 4 weeks, when there are so many other demands to meet!  Chances are that whatever the thing that keeps you away from a particular session, or even the whole Sacred Circles process - when really, something deep in you wants to dive in -  that is the very thing to have a relationship with, to listen to, to stretch just a little.

I've watched it happen these past 6 months.  And I've seen the transformation, the old skin sloughing off and the new peaking out from underneath the old.  It is an honor and a pleasure to witness; and to hold this space, this sacred container...that is Sacred Circles.

How is the container held?  How does it work?  Some energetics and prayer.  And some practical, physical boundaries.  First, each Circle is lovingly and prayerfully created by me, with a topic, a theme, questions for reflection, meditation practices, and often art and music.  Remember - we are InterSpiritual, and we are practicing inner work.

We begin each Circle with opening and connecting with each other, with ourselves, and with the Divine Presence in and among us.  All members are spoken by name, whether or not they are able to be Live, their energy is with us.  As I already mentioned, the recorded Circle is available for those not Live to view. 

Each Circle includes a powerful meditation experience, often including energy healing shared by me.  I intend it to be nurturing and healing for all!

Sacred Circles has a private Facebook group.  Only members are invited to participate.

I have an outdoor altar on which is a stone which represents each member of Sacred Circles, symbolizing the container of the Circle, within the broader container of Eye of the Heart.  It receives the wind and the rain, the sunshine, and the energy of the moon.

I periodically, in between Circles, feel a strong nudge to bring each member of Sacred Circles forward in prayer.  Sometimes this is with my singing bowls, sometimes with Oracle cards, sometimes with a chant or a particular prayer.  

And members have agreed to pay monthly for the Sacred Circles experience.  $45 is automatically withdrawn from your account every 4 weeks, unless you decide to save a little and purchase a year (13 Circles) at a time.  You can cancel the regular payment at any time.  But having the payment in place allows a certain level of commitment that contributes to the strength of the container created.  So each person assists in holding that space with me, for each other.

I am witnessing Sacred Circles be in its own state of transformation, taking on a life of its own.  Would you like to come on into the Sacred container??  Do you have some old skin that wants to shed, allowing the new to come through - the YOU that's just waiting to be seen? 

We in Sacred Circles are here waiting for you!!

with gratitude and love, peace and healing!  Alisa